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local strawberry sightings & pricings, 2011

Noticed ON-grown strawberries at Pusateri's Bayview Village location today, at $6.99/pint (although possibly $7.99/pint- maybe someone can correct me if they're $7.99), if I recall correctly. Not sure where they were grown in ON. I probably won't buy any until they dip under the $5 mark, but would love to hear how they are, if anyone buys some.

Understand that the SW ON strawberries are late this year, and should be out the last week in June.

Please post if you see local strawberries around town, and if you buy some, please mention how much they cost, and if they're worth buying.

On a tangent, the produce at Pusateri's (BV) was looking great today. While some produce is clearly more expensive than your average grocery store, some produce was a better value (limes were 4/$1.99 and I've been paying $0.69 each, where I shop the most), and much of it was better quality. The mint I purchased for $1.99 was a much larger bunch, and much more fresh-looking, fresh-tasting and fresh-smelling than other mint I've been finding elsewhere lately.

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Pusateri's
1539 Avenue Rd, Toronto, ON M5M, CA

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  1. Loblaws at Millwood and Laird had $4 pints of Ontario strawberries(they smelled good, but I haven't tasted them yet). The farmers market at Coxwell and Mortimer on Tuesdays also has $4 pints (they were delicious, small berries with nice strawberry flavour and a little tartness.)

    1. I'm still waiting for mine to start popping up in the backyard :(

      1. I just bought some at the Liberty Village farmer's market, 2 pints for $10.

        2 Replies
        1. re: crawfish

          The price for a pint of local strawberries at the St. Lawrence Market's north farmers' building this past Saturday was $5 at just about all the fruit stands. One or two stands were slightly cheaper, though.

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          St. Lawrence Market
          92 Front St E, Toronto, ON M5E, CA

          1. re: crawfish

            Just a follow up: the strawberries I bought yesterday aren't that sweet. They are nice and red and appear ripe but I hope later harvests will taste better.

          2. Had some of the Loblaws stock. Too early, too much rain and not enough consistent heat. Holding out for better.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Kagemusha

              Agreed... We cracked ours from Loblaws this afternoon. They were a little too tart.

            2. Not the GTA, but in Niagara we've had them for a week and a half or so. They've been good, but not amazing... should get better.

              1. the fruit stands along roncesvalles have them priced at 4.99 per pint

                1. pint at fiesta farms... can't recall if it was $4.99 or 5.99 right now.

                  they're 50/50 tasteless and tasteful, i think later in the season with less water will be very beneficial.

                  1. I picked up some really nice ones at the Brickworks for $6 a pint. Smaller berries but better overall flavour.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Otonabee

                      Right on. Haven't been to Brickworks yet- does more than one vendor sell berries? If so, which vendor was selling the really nice berries? ;-)

                      1. re: prima

                        Go to the Brickworks you will really enjoy it! Bring an appetite and go early, there is some great food to be had!

                        I suspect there will be more than one vendor. But on the where, Great question... umm. It was one of the smaller vendors. I guess closer to the entrance?

                        Enjoy!

                    2. I saw signs at the St. Lawrence Market about an Ontario Strawberry Festival this weekend.

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                      St. Lawrence Market
                      92 Front St E, Toronto, ON M5E, CA

                      1. strawberries are sold in quarts.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: aaaaaa

                          I bought them in a quart from downtown Pusateris for $7.99. They were large, red (on the inside too) and were sweet and yummy! Someone I know whose father is in the produce business said that different stores do buy different stock. So I would rather spend $7.99 (right now) for Pusateri's quality than less for some at the other stores.

                          Speaking of Loblaws, am I the only one who is dumbfounded when we go up north once a year during wild blueberry season and the Independent (owned by Loblaws) doesn't stock these and other local products other than corn. Hope that has changed.

                          Planning my first visit to Brickworks this Saturday. Cannot wait. How's the parking?

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                          Pusateri's
                          1539 Avenue Rd, Toronto, ON M5M, CA

                          1. re: breezey

                            there are all sorts of issues with local products in big stores. ex. farmers not having enough product to stock grocery stores, chains not willing to buy from local farms because of high prices (esp. wild blueberries) existing agreements with berry providers for the remainder of the year.

                            and re: everything else: 8 per quart is a bit nuts. standard price should be around 5-5.50 for the start of the season. will go down as they become more plentiful.

                            sweeter as the sun warms them. etc. etc.

                          2. re: aaaaaa

                            Right. 6 bucks/pint is a bit spendy but even 8/quart is borderline extortionate. Not jonesing for strawberries that badly!

                            1. re: Kagemusha

                              Hey I agree! But strawberries are my favourite fruit and got carried away when I saw they had Ontario strawberries. Trust me have thrown out enough bad quality US ones for $3.99 a quart to be a bit extravagant this early in the season.

                          3. Dufferin Grove farmers market tomorrow will have local strawberries ...

                            1. the big baskets on the roncesvalles fruit stands are 3.99 this week

                              1. The fruit market on Yonge north of Eglinton has them 2 for $6. The market further north is 2 for $7.

                                WON
                                http://whatsonmyplate.net

                                1. I bought some Ontario strawberries at metro for 6 (or 6.99). They were kinda bland, and a few even had actually no flavour at all.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: AngelSanctuary

                                    Visited several places out along Walker's Line in Halton this a.m. Crop is so-so but most growers are hoping for better. Weather hasn't helped--too cool, too wet. Season may stretch out a bit this year--hopefully.

                                    1. re: AngelSanctuary

                                      I fully agree. No flavour,very bland. Lack of sun, I presume.

                                    2. Purchased some strawberries at Doris Family Produce in London ON's Covent Garden Market. $4.50/pint. Best berries I've had this season.

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                                      Covent Garden Market
                                      130 King Street, London, ON N6B, CA

                                      1. Sobey's on Laird: $3.99, Small, tasty but not too sweet.
                                        Loblaws on Moore: $3.99. Larger and sweeter but with less flavour.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: hal2010

                                          Bought some organic Ontario strawberries last week at Sweet Potato in the west end (Dundas and Pacific). The berries were fabulous. Cost was $4.50/pint.

                                        2. Superstore on Don MIlls/Eg lowered their price to $2.99 this weekend.

                                          Not as sweet as they should be - but tasted the same as the ones as I bought from a roadside stand in NOTL on Saturday.

                                          1. Whittamores has them now. I saw their strawberry carts out on Kingston Rd. today.

                                            1. It's a bit of a hike, but a couple of weeks ago I found some fantastic strawberries from Niagara region at the Square One farmer's market. They were heavenly--like eating candy!

                                              I bought a pint of them for about $4.50. I wish I had bought a bushel! Hopefully they will keep getting in berries like those...

                                              1. Fresh from the Farm (Donlands and OConnor) said they will have strawberries from a Mennonite farm in Markham starting today. In past years, they have had delicious strawberries.
                                                Sorry, no idea about the price

                                                1. Whittamore's Farm opened Tuesday for pick-your-own and are charging $2 per pound. As others have said, the berries are nice and red but not that tasty. There were plenty of medium-sized and even some large berries when we went. I think they'll be alright for baking or topped with ice cream/frozen yogurt.

                                                  1. Has anybody gone strawberry picking recently? Just wondering if the taste has improved now compared to when the season started early last week.

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: loodle

                                                      Went last weekend, with okay but not spectacular results. There was a lot of rain in June which kept the berries from developing as much flavour, I think.

                                                      1. re: loodle

                                                        I went last weekend. The strawberries were small and pretty hit or miss.

                                                        WON
                                                        http://whatsonmyplate.net

                                                        1. re: loodle

                                                          Went strawberry picking at Whittamores on July 2nd. Flavour varies, some are really sweet, some are bland - that was what the May rain did to this year's crop. Don't expect large berries like what we are accustom to in supermarkets . I like medium & small as I think they're tastier. From about 11 lbs I made a dozen 250 mL cooked strawberry jam, 4 of 250 ml no-cook jam, and about 2 lbs for eating, salad, smoothie. The red is just perfect, the jam colour is beautiful. I will go back to pick some more.

                                                          Knusprig

                                                          1. re: knusprig

                                                            I'm thinking of heading to Whittamores today. I normally go to Reesor but it's their last week so I doubt there will be much to pick from. Seems like the berries are hit or miss this year thanks to the crazy rain we've had. Hopefully I get some good ones for eating as is!

                                                        2. Seeing pints and pints at all the chain supermarkets, average of $2.49/lb, but still a bit sour for my liking.

                                                          1. The best strawberries I've bought this season have been either from Havaris ($4.50/heaping pint), Doris Family Produce ($4.50/heaping pint) http://www.coventmarket.com/category/..., or Joyce Farms ($4/heaping pint- available at the Covent Garden Farmer's Market http://www.coventmarket.com/farmers-o... , the Joyce Farms stand on Hyde Park Road, Masonville Farmers' Market http://www.masonvillefarmersmarket.ca... ).

                                                            1. They were selling local strawberries today at the Superstore (Don Mills and Eglinton) for 2 qt./$5. They look good, very red, but aren't very sweet. Still way better than the huge, but tasteless imported strawberries.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: TOFoodie1

                                                                The strawberries we picked at Whittamores last weekend were huge and very sweet. Difficult to pick a 'bad' one from the row we were given.

                                                                $2 a pound with a $2 off on-line coupon if you buy over $25. It was a great deal and we finished all 10+ pounds within days.

                                                                1. re: caitlink

                                                                  Funny, picking strawberries this year seems very hit and miss. My hubby went to Whittamores the same weekend (June 26?) and the strawberries were still watery and still not very tasty or sweet. Plus, they had raised the price from $2/lb. My strawberry muffins and strawberry crisp were adversely affected by the high water content in the fruit. P.S. I believe Whittamores sprays their crops, so muddy or not I wouldn't eat the berries without washing them first.

                                                              2. There is no question that the Ontario strawberries are infinetly superior to the imported Californian. Lloblaws were selling them at $3.00 a punnit (pint?), and they were excellent and a huge pallet (skid?) sold out within a day. My local corner store was selling them at $2.50 a generous punnit, also delicious. We are near the optimum point for Strawberries buy double the quantity you think will be consumed and you will still be left with an empty bowl.

                                                                P.S. don't wash them, just a little sugar an hour before serving after taking off the leaf.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: AzulH

                                                                  There's been so much rain in SW ON, that if you don't wash the SW ON strawberries, you'll end up with a mouthful of mud and grit.

                                                                  I wash them in several changes of water, then hull them just before serving. If the berries were more muddy than usual, I'll sometimes give them another quick rinse after hulling, then drain them immediately.

                                                                2. We had some wonderful ones from Longo's recently (2.99 Qt) - actually fairly large and definately tasty. If you're out near the west end (Milton area) try Springridge Farm for pick-your-own or ready picked. Really nice location near the escarpment, nice shop and play areas for the lttle ones (used to be the 'mom's' mid-week hand out when the kids were little - get a strawberry custard tart (baked right there) a coffee and sit and chat while the kids play. Then pick up some strawberries to take home - really nice mini-break. I realize we're probably closer to raspberry season now though.

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                                                                  Springridge Farm
                                                                  7256 Bell School Line, Milton, ON L9T, CA