These are among the best strawberries I ever tasted. The best being in a patch of those tiny Michigan wild strawberries that my sister, my cousin and I found one day playing in a shady ditch. There were so many berries we filled our hands and ran back to tell my Aunt Marte of the treasure. She promptly sent us off with many small buckets, admonishing us not to eat ANY (like the Eye of Sauron, she would know if we ate even one) and not to come back until the buckets were full. She was planning to make jam.
Here's what perfect strawberries look like: deep ruby red color from top to bottom and tight shiny skin. Each berry is a discrete individual. Many different sized berries - medium ones being my favorite. They have a heavenly perfume that you would like to dab behind your ears. Fresh green rustle-y leaves. When you bite into a berry, the red goes clear to the heart and the inside is almost sparkly. The berries from Frog Holler glow as if lighted up from inside. How do they do that?
On one of the food email lists that I'm on, people are very conscious about the cost of produce and want to buy when supplies are high and costs are low. I wonder how other people prioritize the experience of eating perfectly ripe, carefully handled, organically and sustainably grown berries like these that you can only get for a few weeks once a year. Do people notice all the things that make them so very good?
A quart of these berries, absolutely perfect in every way and none to throw away, is something I'd rather have than a $9 movie. And I would easily trade the experience of eating them for a $7.50 snack at a coffee shop. And probably even for an expensive dinner at a fancy restaurant. These berries are so good, paying $6 quart for them seems like not much for what I get in return. There is part of me that still thinks that's expensive. The part of me that remembers getting berries this good free for the picking on my grandparents farm. However, that part of me now lives in Arizona in a retirement community with plenty of cactus and no strawberries at all.
Just about the only thing I can think of that would be better than the box of perfect strawberries in my fridge right now is finding that patch of wild strawberries from long ago. And because it's long gone by now, the memory of that patch and that day 30 years ago, may now be sweeter than the berries ever were. That's the thing about food. Eating it is one thing, and thinking about it is another.