Last year, my mom and I spent a few very hot but very successful hours picking berries under the scorching summer sun. This year, with the craziness that is the summer, all I could manage was to pick up a flat of local berries from the market. Someone else slaved over the rows of berries, swatting away the bees, wiping the sunscreen out of their eyes, peaty soil clinging to their knees and embedding under their nails. These berries were tasty, it wasn’t the sweet taste of summer I remembered. The fruits of your labour always tastes better than you could imagine. But they sure beat the clamshells of california berries that stock the shelves year round.
My old boss and her husband invited me over for a BBQ dinner in the heart of strawberry season a few weeks ago. I brought along these almond cream tarts, topped with local berries and crushed pistachios, served with a crisp bottle of La Frenz ’09 viognier, brought right from the winery. Local, simple, seasonal eating at it’s best. And next year, come strawberry season, I’ll pick my own berries once again. And then, only then, will it be perfectly delicious.