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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Strawberry season is here!

Local strawberries are finally here! I picked a heaping bucketful of red ripe berries last week at my parents' house and we have been enjoying them with a sprinkling of powdered sugar, blending them into breakfast smoothies and making Chocolate-dipped Strawberries for dessert.

My own strawberry plants have just started to produce a bowlful every few days for fresh eating. A bit more sunshine would bring out their sweetness, but they are a big improvement over the crunchy California berries from the supermarket. I was in California recently for a family reunion and there are delicious varieties of strawberries available at the farmers markets--Seascape and Gaviota are superb--but the ones they ship up here can't compare with our own Oregon Strawberries.

Kruse Farms and Deer Creek both have u-pick berries available. I picked 14 pounds Thursday morning because I was dying to try out my new Excalibur dehydrator. Washed, hulled and sliced in half, this was just the right amount to fill all nine trays. It took about 12 hours to get them leathery and chewy, but not crispy. I had to discipline myself not to eat too many as I peeled them off the drying sheets--they are sooooo delicious ! "These are for next winter," I tell myself, "when fresh, local fruit is scarce."

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