18 May 2012

The Complicated Emotions of Local Strawberries


If strawberries are enough to motivate you to go to PSU on Saturday (8:30-2) or King Sunday (10-2; NE 7th & Wygant) then stop reading now. Okay, strawberry bonus; there should be at 3 to 4 pints of the elusive Hood strawberries at the PSU Market. We don’t expect them to last.

Hood strawberries, are small, exquisitely flavored berries. And they do taste memorably good, but don’t believe the hype if someone tells

Eating Local has Never Been So
Suitable For Framing

you this is the only way strawberries should taste. Earlier in the week, I ran across a passage, from Steinbeck’s East of Eden, where protagonists, a pair of California farmers regret that berries don’t taste like they used to. The novel was published in 1952, the time when characters are complaining that berries tasted better was set in the early nineteen-teens. So it’s at least 100 year old complaint.

Locally grown varieties like Chandlers and Totems taste great. 80% of all strawberries are grown in California, the state to the south produces over a billion pounds of fruit a year, available 11 months a year, selected not for taste, or being able to provoke, memories of an earlier, more innocent time, but for their ability to be shipped 1,000s of miles. At PFM your berries are picked, Friday and early Saturday morning. They are very good, the local season is short, and even if I am a blueberry guy myself, they’re memorable enough that, when I’m older, say twenty

PFM Director, Trudy
Hoopin’ For Health

years in the future, I will shake my fist and bitterly complain that the berries in the future don’t taste as good as the berries of my youth (by youth, I mean middle agedness).

And speaking of local, Jen Bracy has designed a beautiful guide to aid in the quest to eat local. She will be selling these guides for $10 all day at PSU in the center of the market near the music stage. Wait, there’s more! Be one of the first 3 people to show up with local berries, asparagus or sweet peas that you purchased at the market and get a FREE copy. More info here.

Quick notes: Special thanks to Highway to Health Fair at this week’s Buckman Market. Organized by HealthCorps, this event engaged high school students and the broader community to raise awareness about the impact of individual choices on healthy eating, active living, and mental well-being. Benson and Cleveland high schools staffed the event and I forgot to mention it, learn more here.

Happy birthday, Senior Market Manager, Jaret Foster.

Finally, this year, the omnibus legislation known as the Farm Bill will be passed. Last year we interviewed Congressman Earl Blumenauer about the bill. You can learn more about how this important bill by watching a webinar sponsored by the Farmers Market Collation. Cost is $25 and you can sign up here