Garden On, Vashon

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Island-Grown Strawberries

June 21st, 2013 at Fri, 21st, 2013 at 1:40 pm by Karen Dale

 

Strawberries are peaking right now. Thriftway’s carrying Sakuma Bros. berries from Burlington, and I’m told that Joe Yarkin of Sun Island Farm is also selling strawberries grown at his Maury Island farm. You can catch his berries at the farmers’ market or his stand on Burton.

The gorgeous, siren-red berries in the photo above are from another local producer, Dr. Bob Norton. If you’ve been looking for him and his berries at the Farmers’ Market, know that Minglement now has an exclusive on his berries. And are they worth it…

Only the most perfect, peak-of-ripeness berries pass Dr. Bob’s muster. I know, because I’m one of his pickers, harvesting 4 pints for him so that I can pick one for myself. Between his crew of fruit club and church volunteers, he’s taking about 100 pints to Minglement a week. Usually, they sell out.

Minglement’s displaying them right at the main counter, selling them for $4.50/pint, and also in the produce section. That’s only 50¢ more than Thriftway’s price. And while Burlington berries are close enough to pass as locavore, they Ain’t Authentically Island Berries, are they? Here’s a photo of Dr. Bob’s fields.

We’ve been picking ‘Shuksan,’ ‘Honeyoe,’ ‘Puget Crimson’ (here pictured), and ‘Jewel.’ Variety identity is scribed into the brim of each green pint. Don’t disdain the tiny little berries called “Glooscap”—half the size, twice the flavor. A very-hardy from Nova Scotia, it has a bit of wild strawberry in its genes.  

Fresh berries arrive at Minglement between 12:30-1, Monday, Wednesday & Friday. If you want a whole flat, buy 11, get 1 pint free for $49.50 total. Eat as many as you can before refrigerating them for the night: chilling lessens their taste, and it’s not like they’re going to improve with age. 

Emily MacRae, who organizes picking for Dr. Bob, says “Eating local food gives everybody the opportunity to participate in a sustainable lifestyle and economy on our Island.” 

With a couple weeks, the harvest will switch to eating cherries. So if you want to experience locally-grown strawberries at their peak, get ‘em now at Minglement or at Sun Island’s stands.

And if you have too many to eat at once, make freezer jam. Ball makes a green-lidded jar of pectin that you can spoon out for batches as small as a single pint. Takes only a few minutes, can be used with Splenda, and then you’ve caught the peak of strawberry season in, if anything, a pint even more intensely sweet than the original berries. 

 

 

 

Just a reminder: 2 weeks to go on my Kickstarter campaign to fund the printing of my book, “Garden On, Vashon! a year-round, years-back look at how we garden, farm, and cultivate an Island Paradise.”  Here’s the direct link, the easiest way to reach my campaign’s page:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2043961980/garden-on-vashon

 

gardens on the south end of Vashon Island, on a sandy hilltop overlooking Quartermaster Harbor. "Garden On, Vashon" shares what the Island has to teach us about gardening HERE—from making soils to sowing seeds to raising plants to harvest, cooking, preserving, and designing new ways to cultivate your little chunk of Vashon Island. To contact me, email karendale@centurytel.net, or leave a comment.

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