June 22, 2006

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Sweet rosy taste of summer
The strawberries are here — get a basket and start picking
By Susan Reilly  news@hippopress.com

Nature is generous when it comes to strawberries.

In southern New Hampshire, we get a full month to pick our own. Although strawberries are available in the produce aisle year round, they are often mealy and bruised and it has been weeks since they saw sun and soil.

Mid June signals the beginning of the local strawberry season, and more than a dozen local farms offer you the opportunity to venture into the fields and pick your own pints.

Most farms open early in the morning and encourage you to pick your crop before noon when the sun is hottest.

While fresh strawberries are great eaten straight from your hand, don’t overlook the many creative uses for this member of the rose family.

Josh and Danielle Enright, the Amherst couple who own The Seedling Café in Nashua, pick their own, in their backyard. The café’s menu is organic and heavy on interesting flavor combinations.

With strawberries in season, look for a chicken strawberry salad. The salad is made with a strawberry aioli, coconut candied cashews and goat cheese.

“I really like goat cheese and fresh, sweet strawberries. The tanginess really works together,” said John Enright.

The Seedling Café also has a cold strawberry rhubarb soup topped with crème fraiche on the spring menu.

“It is perfect for hot days,” he said.

At the new Olive Branch Tavern in the 1875 Inn in Tilton, owner and chef Joanna Oliver will be chopping fresh strawberries and adding them to her secret cannoli filling.

“I have been making these cannolis for years. Every spring when the strawberries come out I chopped the fresh berries and people love them,” she said.

Also, Oliver will be adding fresh sliced strawberries to the tavern’s house salad.

At KC’s Ribshack in Manchester, look for pork chops grilled with a secret strawberry margarita sauce.

“We are still tweaking the recipe,” said chef and owner Kevin Cornish. “But so far, people like it. It really tastes fabulous.”

Strawberries and chocolate go back a long way and at Patisserie Bleu in Nashua, plump, fresh-picked strawberries will get dressed in tuxedos made of milk and white chocolate.

At Lucia’s Tavola in Brookline, strawberry shortcake will be made with a twist. Lucia Wirzburger, chef and owner ,will be serving homemade chocolate shortcake topped with fresh strawberries she picked at nearby Lull Farm.

Also, Lucia’s Tavola will be serving a strawberry Bellini made from fresh strawberry puree and Prosecco, an Italian sparkling wine.

“Prosecco and strawberries is delicious, it is the perfect cocktail for spring,” Wirzburger said.

Strawberries have long been a magical fruit. With more than 200 seeds on the outside, a short shelf life and a taste that can be both sweet and tart, it is no wonder they are precious.

There is a centuries old custom that if you break a double strawberry in half and share it with someone else, they will fall in love.

No word on whether the other party will fall in love with you, or the berry.


Comments? Thoughts? Discuss this article and more at hippoflea.com  

Pick It
• Barrett Hill Farm,149 Barrett Hill Road, Mason, 878-2351, Leclair@monad.net; open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
• Brookdale Fruit Farm Inc, 38 Broad St., Hollis, 465-2240/2241/2242, FEWhit@aol.com.
• Lavoie’s Farm,172 Nartoff Road, Hollis, 882-0072.
• McQuesten Farm, Route 3A, Litchfield, 424-9268; open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Shirley Farm,106 Shirley Hill Road, Goffstown, 497-4727; certified organic strawberries.
• Wilson Farm 3A, Litchfield, 882-5551; open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Apple Hill Farm, 580 Mountain Road, Concord, 224-8862, applehill@fcgnetworks.net.
• Rossview Farm, 84 District 5 Road, Concord, 225-9656, Rossview@aol.com; open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., June 15 through July 15.
• Elwood Orchards, 54 Elwood Road, Londonderry, 434-6017
• Sunnycrest Farm, Inc., 59 High Range Road, Londonderry, 432-9652/7753; open June to December, call for picking times.


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