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Strawberry Season is Here

Spring has been punctuated by undulating cycles of rain mixed with brisk blue sky days. But stepping outside this morning, a shift was evident: warmer temperatures have arrived. Not the relentless blistering heat that permeates the Sacramento Valley during the height of summer but a marked change from spring’s chillier days. One that leaves you wondering if that morning sweater is just extra baggage or the must-have it was a mere week ago.

As I took my last few steps before reaching the edge of the driveway, the rose bushes stole my attention. It was as if all of a sudden they awoke from their long nap and got dressed in their Sunday finest. Their frilly white ruffles will never go out of style. Enjoying their beauty under the morning sun, I was suddenly filled with a sense of urgency that had been absent from my morning routine for months: watering. As I paused to ponder postponing filling the watering can until noon, the gentle whispers from the hydrangeas, snapdragons, and poppies filled the air. And before I knew it, their sweet smells and colorful blooms lured me down the stone path.

The garden is not a place for hurried steps. There must be time to linger and time for life to reveal the depth of its beauty. That extra layer a hurried passerby will miss every time. But today is different. My steps were quick and my presence was short because under the patio is the tiniest little nest with two curious little hummingbirds tucked inside. I feel so grateful that the hummingbird finds the comfort and trust she needs to raise her young on my patio. So in return, I  want to honor her space. 

As I headed back toward the path, the first of my strawberries waved hello. With only a few scattered plants in hanging baskets here and there, my yield will be small; too small to expect a pie, but just enough to treat myself as I roam from plant to plant. 

With strawberries beginning to appear in my garden, I am filled with anticipation for the farmers’ hauls. Soon the doors of the barren plywood sheds that are scattered throughout town will be wide open. Baskets of just picked strawberries will be decorating the makeshift counters of the weathered spaces. Cars will be randomly veering off the road to follow the scent that only just-picked strawberries can create.

I anticipate the opening of the strawberry stands like I used to anticipate firework stands as a kid. The excitement is not just in the taste, but also in the brevity of their availability. Every year it always feels like the season gets shorter and shorter, but isn’t that just time in general?  Mental note: do not let the opportunity to indulge in these delightful gifts from nature slide silently by during the hustle of daily life.

Having a reserve of fresh strawberries is a must, but so is setting aside a mounded bowl for a homemade dessert. As a fan of tradition I can’t help but lean towards strawberry pie, but this year I feel pulled by exploring and researching something new. Will it be the fresh strawberry cake I’ve been yearning for? Strawberry and basil scones? Homemade strawberry ice cream? Or better yet a strawberry ice cream sandwich? Does it have to be one or the other? Perhaps there is room for all.

Stayed tune for more on strawberries...



(The above strawberry pie is from years ago before Teal Rabbit Bakery was even on my radar.)

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