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Isn't it usually closer to June? We've had a cold spring so far, so things might be on a later schedule this year.
I've been in North Carolina the past 3 springs, and the strawberries down there come in earlier than here, I guess, so now I'm probably confused. I think down there they're usually starting to come in the last week or two of April. But of course with this chilly spring, maybe it will be June. Will that put the cherries in July?
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:blink: : Ripe! STRAWBERRIES, ripe!

The first STRAWBERRIES of the season at market this Sunday from Next Step Produce! New Morning Farm returns this Sunday, look for RHUBARB! Tree & Leaf Farm (growing on Wheatland Vegetable Farms) also comes to market this Sunday. Spring veggies include ASPARAGUS, ARUGULA, SPINACH, SALAD GREENS (Pea Shoots at Gardeners Gourmet), BEETS, CARROTS, RADISHES, GREEN GARLIC, MORELS. Fresh fish and crabcakes. Also greenhouse grown cukes (Toigo), eggplant and tomatoes. This Sunday, sample Smith Meadows' sweet veal sausage and rosemary goat sausage.

The quote refers to FreshFarm Market at Dupont Circle (9-1 pm). I'm writing the following before reading updates on contingency plans at Eastern Market, but: remember, Gardeners Gourmet participates in the Saturday market at Eastern Market. Heinz ONLY goes to Dupont Circle, and sells out his pricey berries quickly. Last year I mentioned how good local berries were less expensive on Saturday at Eastern Market, if not this weekend, soon.

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I assume there are no strawberries yet. Anyone know when they might appear this year?

I picked up a quart of small but very fragrant strawberries from a farm stand in the Maryland countryside this morning. The farmer said they were the first ones of the season from his farm near Waldorf. $4.00.

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I picked up a quart of small but very fragrant strawberries from a farm stand in the Maryland countryside this morning. The farmer said they were the first ones of the season from his farm near Waldorf. $4.00.
Small is good, when it comes to strawberries. A quart of good strawberries for $4.00??? Where could I find this farm stand?
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There were strawberries (very sweet ones) at both the markets I attended last week. Can't say how much they cost at Annandale Mason District but they were $4 per basket at Vienna on Saturday.

Also got tiny, tender kohlrabi, lettuce and fresh pasta in Annandale and bacon, asparagus and gerbera daisies in Vienna.

But the best reason to visit with of those markets and the one in Kingstowne Friday? .... CRACKPOT GOURMET, of course. :blink: Please come visit, shoot the breeze, sample the jams, and let me get to know you.

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Thanks, Heather. Enjoy.

* * *

All local strawberries are not alike! I've lucked out with Next Step Produce, Spring Valley & Country Pleasures at Dupont Circle. Visitor at Penn Quarter picked up some great ones from Sunnyside Orgainc, too. Seems like a good year.

Today, since I'll be skipping the Sunday morning market, I went to my trusty nearby church parking lot which I used to frequent all the time on Saturday mornings. Eddy, the farmer from Twin Springs, is a pleasure and in addition to his own amazing apples (Gold Rush ;)) and peaches, he sells produce, baked goods, honey, etc. from other producers; not all are local, apparently. No bananas, but today, the same Athena melons Whole Foods has across town (sign: "from Down South").

The quarts of strawberries were beautiful and I swear they looked just like Eli's (Spring Valley) which virtually had me swooning over shortcake and even bowls of cereal this past week. Eddy was telling another shopper they were from his own place.

Perfectly ripe, red all the way through, great texture. Taste like water. :P

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I love strawberries and we are coming upon season. Anyone seen the local stuff yet? Also looking to try different varieties.

It's strawberry season! It sounded like they were high in demand and short on supply at Dupont, but at the VA markets they are abundant. I bought a quart from Three Way Farm (Warsaw, VA) at Del Ray on Sat.

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Burke Farmers' Market had lots this past Saturday and the previous Saturday (opening day). It pays to get up early, because on a nice day (unlike this past Saturday) they may sell out quickly. I've gotten them from two different vendors, and they're not at all like the ones from the grocery stores. Worth setting the alarm for!

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Burke Farmers' Market had lots this past Saturday and the previous Saturday (opening day). It pays to get up early, because on a nice day (unlike this past Saturday) they may sell out quickly. I've gotten them from two different vendors, and they're not at all like the ones from the grocery stores. Worth setting the alarm for!

The ones from the farmer's market will make you forget about buying them at a grocery store forever. Buy a bunch and freeze for a treat during the rest of the year.

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The ones from the farmer's market will make you forget about buying them at a grocery store forever. Buy a bunch and freeze for a treat during the rest of the year.

How do you do your freezing? Do you try to retain structure? Or do you resign yourself to the fact that they're likely going to get mushy? Freeze them first individually on a sheet pan and then vac seal them?

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How do you do your freezing? Do you try to retain structure? Or do you resign yourself to the fact that they're likely going to get mushy? Freeze them first individually on a sheet pan and then vac seal them?
Whatever I don't make into jam (there will be jam event at my house this summer, BTW) gets individually frozen on sheet trays, then put in ziplock bags. They don't maintain structural integrity after freezing, but make great sauce, ice cream, and smoothies.
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Whatever I don't make into jam (there will be jam event at my house this summer, BTW) gets individually frozen on sheet trays, then put in ziplock bags. They don't maintain structural integrity after freezing, but make great sauce, ice cream, and smoothies.

That is exactly what I was going to say. Any tips for making strawberry jam that sets up well? The stuff I made (or tried to) last year makes a great sauce. ;)

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That is exactly what I was going to say. Any tips for making strawberry jam that sets up well? The stuff I made (or tried to) last year makes a great sauce. ;)
Ha. BTDT. Pectin, and don't try to cut back on the whopping amount of sugar the packet calls for. It really needs that much to set up properly.
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How do you do your freezing? Do you try to retain structure? Or do you resign yourself to the fact that they're likely going to get mushy? Freeze them first individually on a sheet pan and then vac seal them?
Try Alton Brown's suggestion of using dry ice in a cooler, rather than relying on your freezer. The temperature will be lower, so you'll get smaller ice crystals and less cellular damage. It's worked reasonably well for me.
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Try Alton Brown's suggestion of using dry ice in a cooler, rather than relying on your freezer. The temperature will be lower, so you'll get smaller ice crystals and less cellular damage. It's worked reasonably well for me.
The new AM Harris Teeter had a dry ice cooler in the downstairs lobby FWIW.
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went by the farmers market yesterday at Wakefield park. Had strawberries from 3 different vendors. They indicated that they were all from local farms. Got to say it was a bit dissappointing. They were not as sweet and flavorful as I had hope and were very similar to the stuff at the grocery stores.

So the search still continues....

Soup

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went by the farmers market yesterday at Wakefield park. Had strawberries from 3 different vendors. They indicated that they were all from local farms. Got to say it was a bit dissappointing. They were not as sweet and flavorful as I had hope and were very similar to the stuff at the grocery stores.

So the search still continues....

Soup

Just because they are grown locally does not mean that they are going to be good. This is not limited to just strawberries either. That is why it is always a good idea to try before you buy.

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Just because they are grown locally does not mean that they are going to be good. This is not limited to just strawberries either. That is why it is always a good idea to try before you buy.

And it had been pouring rain so the strawberries may have been a bit watery....dry weather is always best for fruit.

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The strawberries from Westmoreland Berry Farm at Courthouse this morning were great. Just about everyone walking away from the stand was getting the 3 quart box.
They looked impressive - big and very red. How do they taste? The line was so long by the time I got there that I didn't have time to wait.
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They looked impressive - big and very red. How do they taste? The line was so long by the time I got there that I didn't have time to wait.

We bought 4 quarts and have so far eaten 1.5 of them. The texture on the berries is good, firm enough that they're not fragile but with the softness of a berry picked when it's just ripe. I was worried that the recent rain would have made them waterlogged but the sample I got in line was sweet and juicy. These are definitely better than what I've been finding at the grocery store recently.

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The strawberries from Westmoreland Berry Farm at Courthouse this morning were great. Just about everyone walking away from the stand was getting the 3 quart box.

The asparagus that they were selling was also quite delicious.

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Some kick-ass berries at 14th and U yesterday. A little waterlogged -- to be expected, given the weather lately -- but proper tasting and real. Reminded me why I held off buying thos shitty Driscolls all winter. I'm thinking of getting a crock and a gallon of vodka and making something that will help me get through the blues next January.

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A little waterlogged
but proper tasting and real.
:lol:

Waterlogged can be OK for eating out of hand, but is terrible for cooking. Looks like jam is not in the cards this year, unless we get a nice dry hot spell.

I'm thinking of getting a crock and a gallon of vodka and making something that will help me get through the blues next January.
I recently tasted a batch of R.J. Cooper's strawberry-rhubarb vodka at Vidalia. It was a little sweet on its own, but would kick ass in some lemonade.

I'll be at Dupont this morning, standing in line at Heinz's stand.

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Some kick-ass berries at 14th and U yesterday. A little waterlogged -- to be expected, given the weather lately -- but proper tasting and real. Reminded me why I held off buying thos shitty Driscolls all winter. I'm thinking of getting a crock and a gallon of vodka and making something that will help me get through the blues next January.

Glad you liked them and we will have lots more next week if the sun comes out to play.

Robin

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My flat of berries from Heinz Thomet should make adequate jam, but the berries are not as flavorful as in years past. The rain is definitely not helping the flavor. And $36 worth of berries is surprisingly little fruit once taken out of the boxes.

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My flat of berries from Heinz Thomet should make adequate jam, but the berries are not as flavorful as in years past. The rain is definitely not helping the flavor. And $36 worth of berries is surprisingly little fruit once taken out of the boxes.

Next time, do pick-your-own at Homestead Farm in Poolesville. It's really not that far, and it's MUCH cheaper if you are making jam. The kids will have fun, too--they have a little petting zoo, where you can feed small farm animals.

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Next time, do pick-your-own at Homestead Farm in Poolesville. It's really not that far, and it's MUCH cheaper if you are making jam. The kids will have fun, too--they have a little petting zoo, where you can feed small farm animals.
I'd love to do a "pick-your-own" but time is an issue for me these days.

Charles swears by the Quaker Valley Farm strawberries, but they too were disappointing.

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Just returned from the Falls Church Farmer's Market. Bought some strawberries from one vendor that looked great. Tasted one as I walked away. No sweetness. Horrible. Returned them. Then went to two other vendors and tried them first. They were also flavorless. The strawberries at Harris Teeter/Giant are white with a touch of red, but still sweeter than these "fresh local" berries.

I'd be ashamed to sell that. They shouldn't allow poor product to be sold at Farmer's Markets. This just reinforces my inclination to not by fruits or vegetables. They're outrageously expensive and the quality is hit or miss even at organic sources (Whole Foods) or farmer's markets.

@#%!

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Just returned from the Falls Church Farmer's Market. Bought some strawberries from one vendor that looked great. Tasted one as I walked away. No sweetness. Horrible. Returned them. Then went to two other vendors and tried them first. They were also flavorless. The strawberries at Harris Teeter/Giant are white with a touch of red, but still sweeter than these "fresh local" berries.

I'd be ashamed to sell that. They shouldn't allow poor product to be sold at Farmer's Markets. This just reinforces my inclination to not by fruits or vegetables. They're outrageously expensive and the quality is hit or miss even at organic sources (Whole Foods) or farmer's markets.

@#%!

Bummer, dude. Though, with all the rain, the flavors were a bit diluted this week.

I always sample the berries of all the vendors at the markets before honing in on my faves -- and the flavors do vary by farm and by week. But every week I do stumble across a farm or two who's strawberries kick the shit out of those plastic things they sell at the Safeway and even Whole Foods. This morning I went through a quart from Richfield Farms, new to the Mt. Pleasant Market this year and -- accompanied by a fresh Bread Line croissant and the morning paper -- they made about the best breakfast a human can eat (aside from huevos rancheros before a day in the backcountry).

I'm curious about your inclination to "not buy fruits or vegetables." Is this the "Atkins X-treme" diet? :lol:

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Just returned from the Falls Church Farmer's Market. Bought some strawberries from one vendor that looked great. Tasted one as I walked away. No sweetness. Horrible. Returned them. Then went to two other vendors and tried them first. They were also flavorless. The strawberries at Harris Teeter/Giant are white with a touch of red, but still sweeter than these "fresh local" berries.

I'd be ashamed to sell that. They shouldn't allow poor product to be sold at Farmer's Markets. This just reinforces my inclination to not by fruits or vegetables. They're outrageously expensive and the quality is hit or miss even at organic sources (Whole Foods) or farmer's markets.

@#%!

I agree that it may have been the heavy rain that we've had. The strawberries had been getting sweeter and sweeter. The last market box I bought was last week, and they were very good. They are also extremely perishable-so juicy.

The Ca. brands, such as Driscoll's are very hearty and truthfully, I think they hit the middle of the road. They taste of strawberry, but as Waitman said, fall short of the best of the local season.

That very well may have passed at this point.

If this is the first local berry you've had, I can understand how you feel. But the thing is..there is the season for the fruit, and then the peak of season for the fruit, and then a divine sliver of time that the taste reaches its' zenith.

Don't give up!

Peach season is next. See if my gestalt rings true (barring any more monsoons :lol: )

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They're open weekends. Last time we picked sour cherries, the three of us went, and we were out of there in less than an hour with something like 25 pounds worth.
[This would have been funnier if I'd said it on May 20, but:] They made you pay with British money?
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We did some picking at the local farm yesterday and got a ton of strawberries. We also noted the muted flavor.

Last year, the berries were smaller and sweeter. I'm wondering if that's due to the near-drought conditions last year vs. the rainy conditions this year? Not sure how the science works.

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We did some picking at the local farm yesterday and got a ton of strawberries. We also noted the muted flavor.

Last year, the berries were smaller and sweeter. I'm wondering if that's due to the near-drought conditions last year vs. the rainy conditions this year? Not sure how the science works.

Word on the street is that -- not surprisingly -- the rains have diluted the flavor of the berries. If you ever read analyses of wine harvest, you'll not that one thing that sends producers and reviewers into despair is late rainfall that dilutes the juice and leads to boring wine.

On the other hand, I sampled every producer at Dupont today (how they must hate me) and, just as I was about give up, tried the farm whose name I can never remember even though I've been buying from them for almost 20 years, starting back at the Adams-Morgan market, back in the corner next to Buster's seafood, and the berries were so luscious I bought two quarts (and am half-way through the first as I type). Over the last four weeks, I've found four different farms to be the "best."

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On the other hand, I sampled every producer at Dupont today (how they must hate me) and, just as I was about give up, tried the farm whose name I can never remember even though I've been buying from them for almost 20 years, starting back at the Adams-Morgan market, back in the corner next to Buster's seafood, and the berries were so luscious I bought two quarts (and am half-way through the first as I type).
Those were from New Morning, weren't they? I should asked you to get me four pints because the two I brought home are almost gone.

The flat I bought from Toigo last week made very tasty jam that didn't jell properly. I think too much rain means much less pectin, in addition to much less flavor.

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Those were from New Morning, weren't they? I should asked you to get me four pints because the two I brought home are almost gone.
Yes. New Morning in PA has a late growing season, especially in comparison to the early birds of West Virginia. Could be their berries missed out on the major patch of deluges others got.
The flat I bought from Toigo last week made very tasty jam that didn't jell properly. I think too much rain means much less pectin, in addition to much less flavor.
ALB, take note. You should talk to Heather and Zora about jamming.
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