Tuesday, June 24, 2008
A few years ago I challenged a small group of friends to a strawberry taste-off: California vs. Oregon. Ooooooh weeeeee. Is that a touchy subject or what? Touchy, touchy, touchy. But we did a blind tasting of berries. The results? (I'm preparing to quickly run the other way with the answer because most Oregonians who hear the following will argue with me forever.) California strawberries won. Even the tasters argued. How could it be? I do not know. But I promise to never do it again. Especially if I ever want to finally be able to call myself an Oregonian. I promise. I won't touch the Holy Grail of Oregon strawberries are better than Californias. I won't share the story of being born in California's strawberry capital, or driving through fields after fields to get to my Catholic high school. Or what it was like to live directly behind the strawberry fields, especially the scent that permeated our house when they piled the fields high with chicken manure. Or that my brother would sit in his diapers, in our backyard strawberry patch, eating red juicy berry after red juicy berry. Nope, those are my California strawberry memories. I'll share with you my Oregon strawberry stories though...
We went strawberry picking at Sauvie Island this weekend. AdRi loves picking strawberries. She relives her Oregon childhood of picking berries, and becomes the row boss and performing quality control. Saturday morning was overcast and warm, and the fields weren't too crowded at all. The strawberries were just ripening, and perfect for picking. Columbia Farm on Sauvie Island is a great place to pick, and we quickly filled our boxes.
The colors, the scent, these berries are delicious. These ones were Hoods. We stopped and bought a half flat of Shuksans as well, to make Strawberry Freezer Jam with. I'll blog about that tomorrow.
In fact, I'm so smitten with these Oregon strawberries, I'll be blogging strawberry recipes and photos the coming few days. And maybe, just maybe, someday, I'll be able to call myself an Oregonian. But it's hard to let go of my love of California strawberries.