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Local strawberries- Who has the best? or are they all similar?

c
chompie Jun 20, 2013 10:48 AM

Would like to try some local strawberries. Thinking of Marini Farms Ipswich or possibly Tendercrop or Wilson. Do they vary much? Do they tend to be sweet or tart, and how are they different than the non local ones? thanks

  1. c
    celeriac Jun 20, 2013 11:21 AM

    Because they are coming from small farms and, therefore, a less standardized product, I think that you will find tremendous variation in local strawberries from vendor to vendor, farm to farm, and even day to day (based on the weather). I've purchased berries from Stillman's at the Copley market and at the Allandale Farm stand so far this year. Neither were quite sweet/ripe enough for my taste, which I chalk up mostly to the overly rainy weather we have been suffering. I suspect that by next week the berries will improve, but its very difficult to generalize.

    1 Reply
    1. re: celeriac
      Karl S Jun 20, 2013 03:23 PM

      +1.

      My farmer's market had lackluster ones last week; they looked lovely, but were not particularly flavorful.

    2. trufflehound Jun 20, 2013 11:23 AM

      If you pick your own or buy them where they are picked they won't look like the southern or western berries like Driscoll. They'll be smaller, rounder and redder and oh so sweet. I was just talking to someone from Hanson farm in Framingham and they moved the berries last year and lost them so I need a new source.

      t

      1 Reply
      1. re: trufflehound
        l
        LilBrownBat Jun 21, 2013 10:57 AM

        Yeah, it's the difference between boxwine and something estate-bottled! Unfortunately can't help you with an EMass source, but if you get out to WMass, Nourse Farms in Whately (which develops strains and sells berry plants to many PYOs) has my very favorite PYO (and strawberries are only the start of it).

      2. m
        maizana Jun 20, 2013 11:28 AM

        Picked some great strawberries at Ward's Berry Farm in Sharon just 10 days ago before all the rain. I bet that with a couple of days like today to dry them out they will be great again.

        1. pinehurst Jun 20, 2013 11:37 AM

          Mann's in Methuen is advertising local strawberries. Haven't tried yet. Laschi Farm in Methuen has delicious strawberries...incredibly sweet and lovely.

          1. b
            brieonwheat Jun 20, 2013 12:31 PM

            Sunnycrest Farms in Londonderry, NH has great pick your own strawberries, and other fruit later in the season. We go up there every weekend during the strawberry season.

            1. g
              grumpyspatient Jun 20, 2013 01:10 PM

              just picked up a quart of strawberries at Paisley's Farm in Boxford after having fresh-made strawberry ice cream at Benson's.
              both really good!

              1. BostonZest Jun 20, 2013 02:25 PM

                So far this season I've had some super sweet strawberries from Atlas Farm and Hamilton Orchards. Both at the Copley Sq market.

                The early season high tunnel berries from Atlas have been the best of the year so far but this week's ripe big berries from Hamilton came in a close second.

                Penny
                http://www.bostonzest.com/

                1. hotoynoodle Jun 20, 2013 07:04 PM

                  picked up baskets last week and this at shaw farms in dracut. not quite ready last week, but lovely today.

                  eta: the cream this week was especially awesome.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: hotoynoodle
                    Infomaniac Jun 20, 2013 07:57 PM

                    I picked up some at Shaw Farm today too, and yes lovely!!!

                    I noticed their butter tasted a little better than usual too.

                    1. re: Infomaniac
                      hotoynoodle Jun 21, 2013 03:19 PM

                      ooh, we were just talking about retrying the butter! good to know. guess the cows are on the fresh early summer grass. yippee!

                      we usually just do milk and cream, however, got some excellent ground pork there recently. local, pastured. :)

                  2. Gio Jun 21, 2013 11:35 AM

                    Both Tendercrop and Wilson's are offering their own strawberries. We haven't tried any yet, but if the variety Wilson planted this year is the same as last year the berries are large and Very Sweet.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: Gio
                      Science Chick Jun 21, 2013 11:40 AM

                      "if the variety Wilson planted this year is the same as last year".......pretty sure they are perennials, although they can be planted annually. Don't know why you would want the extra work though, unless you did wish to change varieties!

                      1. re: Science Chick
                        Gio Jun 21, 2013 11:45 AM

                        Yes, I know. However, farmers plant other/new varieties to test them even if they had a successful previous year. We grow fraises des bois in our garden and they've been there for years.

                        1. re: Gio
                          Science Chick Jun 21, 2013 11:50 AM

                          Thanks....probably too far off-topic, but how successful have your own plants been? I've always been fearful that they will take over my yard, so I've shied away from planting some myself, having heard that once they establish they spread like crazy via the underground shoots. Are the fraises des bois variety good for our growing zone?

                          1. re: Science Chick
                            Gio Jun 21, 2013 12:29 PM

                            I'm in zone 6A... so they've done very well. They don't spread by underground shoots like "regular" strawberries. They just develop more and more growing shoots in a clump. In the past I've divided the plants and given the divisions to our gardening group's plant sale. In Oct. I spread salt marsh hay (Co-op Rte. 1A Topsfield) to help them over-winter.

                            Here's a good reference site:
                            http://www.whiteflowerfarm.com/growgu...

                            1. re: Gio
                              l
                              LilBrownBat Jun 21, 2013 01:57 PM

                              Strawberries are not rhizome spreaders ("underground shoots"). They establish daughter plants ABOVE ground and are very easy to control (and yes, alpine strawberries don't do this). Your problem is going to be the opposite, i.e., getting them to flourish - strawberry plants are very susceptible to pests and fungus (and birds). Summary: growing strawberries is a bit of a PITA.

                            2. re: Science Chick
                              KWagle Jun 22, 2013 01:14 AM

                              Being fearful that you'll have a yard full of delicious fruit is the kind of fear I'd like to have.

                              I wonder how many people get bitten by ticks while picking strawberries. Lyme disease is much more scary than a yard full of berries.

                      2. e
                        ebaba Jun 21, 2013 04:18 PM

                        Tomorrow is Strawberry Day at Drumlin Farm. Pick your own in a beautiful setting, then head to Dairy Joy for a cone.
                        Last year they were wonderful.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: ebaba
                          c
                          chompie Jun 21, 2013 09:40 PM

                          thanks! looking forward to more reviews as the season progresses.. We went to Marini Farm and tried PYO but they were basicly not ripe at all, unless you maybe walked way far beyond where they had been picked over and they were closing soon so we left the field. I tried a couple of ripe ones and one was sweet but not that flavorful and the other was tart, so we decided to wait til they get better.

                        2. opinionatedchef Jun 22, 2013 01:37 AM

                          got some at wilson farm last week and today. i wouldn't rec today's. pretty and sweet but watery tasting and odd semi-raspberry flavor.

                          1. BostonZest Jun 22, 2013 03:21 AM

                            I chatted with Barbara Hamilton about the Hamilton Orchard strawberries I had last week. I think she said they were Calypso. But, the berries this week were a different variety and were much lighter in color. They were still delicious to taste but not as exciting to see.

                            Like most things there are early, mid and late season varieties so even if you buy and like a farm's berries one week, you may get a different variety the next. And weather does make a difference.

                            Enjoy the local strawberries now. Some farms lost their some or all of their crop and the season may end quickly for your favorites.

                            Maizana, Wards is famous for their strawberries, hope I get to enjoy some from them this season.

                            Penny
                            http://www.bostonzest.com/

                            1. m
                              momoftwo Jun 22, 2013 05:08 AM

                              This week I bought some at the Central sq farmers market, 7 dollars a quart, they were ok... Farmer said rain was hurting the crop. At market basket west ford last night, they had Mass grown strawberries, 4.99 per quart. They tasted better than the 7$ ones.

                              1. MrsCheese Jun 24, 2013 05:46 PM

                                I'm allergic, but the ones we got this week from Verrill looked beautiful and my kids liked them.

                                1. b
                                  Bellachefa Jun 24, 2013 05:50 PM

                                  I think the rains did some damage. Last week our Ward Berrie farm in Sharon MA were tart yet sweet as they shut down the pick your own for the day. Today's were meh. Tough season.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Bellachefa
                                    f
                                    Foodie_BBQ Jun 25, 2013 05:33 AM

                                    Disagree. I've had fresh Ward's berries three of the last four days. This is peak season and they are really good right now. The teenage workers in the store were packing them fresh from the fields and handing them out near the register. Big, deep red, and sweet. Maybe one more week of that.

                                  2. rlh Jun 25, 2013 07:57 AM

                                    Have had Verrill both the past two weekends - really good to excellent both times, but better a week ago than this past one.

                                    The ones I picked up at the Kimball stand at Dewey Farmer's market last week were way too tart even though they looked ripe - I plan to try a different farm today.

                                    Wilson Farm's are a reliable local product, fresh and favorable, but not magically fragrant like the ones from Verrill for me this year.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: rlh
                                      b
                                      bear Jun 26, 2013 03:42 AM

                                      We just ate a quart of Wilson's berries last night and they were very good. I don't usually like larger berries, but theirs are a mix of larger and small berries and are red and juicy throughout.

                                      I'll have to swing by Verrill on my way home from work. Can't have too many strawberries during this brief season!

                                      1. re: bear
                                        Gio Jun 26, 2013 06:32 AM

                                        We get our first-of-the-season strawberries today in our CSA from Wilson. Here's hoping they're still red, juicy, and sweet.

                                        1. re: Gio
                                          b
                                          bear Jun 26, 2013 06:38 AM

                                          Hope they're as good as the ones we had last night!

                                    2. t
                                      treb Jun 26, 2013 05:15 AM

                                      Any offer large quantities, for making jams, at a good price?

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