The berry first of the season – strawberries, that is

Ok, so I couldn’t resist a lame attempt at berry humour but I hope you’ll look past that and read the rest of this post.

I’m the proud owner of two quarts – ok, just over one by now – of fresh Ontario strawberries that I picked up at Fraberts Fresh Food in Fergus. I’ve been craving them since I read a tweet by @EatingNiagara yesterday talking about having the chance to taste the first of the strawberry harvest and I knew one of the only places likely to carry them in the Guelph-Wellington area was Fraberts.

Strawberries are just starting to reach market ripeness in the southern parts of our province; these came from the vicinity of the Town of Simcoe, on the north shore of Lake Erie in Norfolk County. That region is home to many of Ontario’s fruit and vegetable farmers; its unique soils and relatively (for Ontario anyway) favourable climate make it ideal for horticulture. Norfolk Farms is a great website listing farms in Norfolk County where you can buy fresh produce and other local foods directly from farmers or at regional markets.

Check out the Foodland Ontario website for great strawberry recipes and handy hints and tips on storage, handling, varieties and more. And here are some other posts on this blog about strawberries:

Longer shelf life for Ontario berries (April 12, 2010)
Strawberry farmers ruining idyllic countryside (July 3, 2009)
What’s in season (June 24, 2009)

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