In Search of "Old School" Strawberries (...and I don't mean those Frankenberry Monsters)
Hi all, I'm originally from the Pacific Northwest and loved the small, densely flavor-packed berries that grew aplenty on the Kitsap Peninsula. Fast forward to current times and I've now lived in San Diego for 15 years - and still haven't found anything close! When I see those gigantic monster strawberries with the bitter, white cores that take up the entire inside, I want to scream, wail and gnash my teeth (well, I've grown weary of that now, but I still feel sad that it's come to this). I currently live near SDSU, but work near UTC. Does anyone know of a good strawberry source? Of course I'd prefer organic, but knowing me, I won't be able to resist any truly good strawberry....and failing that, how can I make the "normal" ones taste better? Liqueur? Any suggestions will be appreciated - I'm planning on making Strawberry Shortcake this weekend.
You gotta hit the farmer's markets. Personally, I go to the Hillcrest Farmer's Market on Sundays, but the Little Italy Mercato is just as good. San Diego (actually Carlsbad and Oceanside) grow quite a lot of conventionally-grown strawberries. The reason they're substandard is because the berries are picked before they're ripe for shipping across the country. Strawberries picked for the farmer's markets are meant to be sold right away, so even the conventionally-grown strawberries are picked the day before and taste a lot better. For older-school (heirloom?) strawberries that are grown organically, look for Suzie's Farm or Sage Mountain Farms in particular.
Have you tried Lisko Deli? They have a small amount of produce - not sure if they get Strawberries, but tend to have organic, local produce.
Grower's Direct on University in La Mesa (just East of 70th Street) might be a good place to check as well.
I never had problems parking at the La Mesa Farmers Market, but haven't been to the new location.
Recently had sublime, organic strawberries (big ones, not fraise des bois) from a vendor at Tues Pacific Beach Farmer's Mkt. Bet you can find them at any farmer's market but sometimes you must ask if organic and to taste.