this past weekend we went strawberry picking at a small organic family farm. it was late in the season, already second pick, which means the fruit is not as big, and i was worried we wouldn't find enough. but there were plenty, and we were enchanted with the quality of it. it didn't look like much when you first looked at it, just rows of plants, not a spot of red in sight. strawberries like to hide, you have to wave your way between the leaves to find them. you couldn't smell them either, the way you can when you go to the market and a smart salesman has placed boxes of them right by the door, to entice you. you can't eat them in the field, either. so you start picking and the first thing you notice is just how much deeper the red of their juice is on your fingers. it stains, so right away you look like you're trying to get away with murder, squatting in some bushes to avoid detection. then you start to smell them. it's sweet but mild, more a memory than an actual olfactory sensation. that's until you load up the car and start back, and the perfume floats around you like thick ropes, forcing you to pull over to get some in the front. you bite, and there's a surprise. there's pure flavor in your mouth. a simple, unadulterated strawberry, becomes so difficult to describe. a lot of supermarket fruit makes me think green. or grass or watery sweet reminiscent of fruit. all i could think when eating these, was red, red all the way back to my fertilizer/pesticide-free childhood.
zhara had a lot of fun. she did some picking, too, and did not discriminate against under-ripe fruit. she got to feed the rotten ones to the chickens, and she was very proud of herself. i was proud of how seriously she took the whole thing, taking great care to not step on any plants, doing all that was asked of her immediately. she was very taken with the resident cats, more than any other animals. i think pretty soon we'll start hearing pleas around here to get a pet. the self-proclaimed strawberry superbaby ate a lot of fresh strawberries, strawberry pancakes, strawberry jam on coconut waffles, and strawberry ice cream - including on top of this cobbler.
i found the recipe for this on the whole foods website. it is delicious, the flavors very well balanced, with just the right amount of sweet. served with ice cream it is downright sinful. the only mandatory observation is this: the 13x9 dish you use better be a tall one, cause this will bubble over with the wrath of hades. and have the sense to put a baking sheet underneath, unlike this idiot here. also, i used turbinado sugar on top instead of brown, and that's the only thing i changed. it makes a lot, serves 10 easily, so you may want to halve it. i'll let you know how it freezes!
p.s.: do not get me started on the eggs we got at this farm. husband thought i lost my head, the way i was fawning over a raw egg in a pan. he said i spent half that time figuring out the new ice cream maker.
p.s.s.: we plan to go back next year.