Long Island Strawberries. Nothing Better.
Delicious, Red, Ripe Strawberries.
The Summer season for strawberry picking, strawberry eating and strawberry worship has officially begun and you are right in time to share the love.
So, grab a wicker basket, a napkin and take a walk with me as we pick the ripest, juiciest and most delectable berries you will ever taste and learn a thing or two along our walk.
It’s a Friday afternoon on Long Island and thoughts of going to The Hampton’s for some well deserved beach time and a casual seafood dinner cloud my mind…until my wife jams on the breaks of my pending relaxation and reality sets in.
1) We have a 5 year old that doesn’t like being in the car more 20 minutes.
2) It’s 4 pm. Thousands of people have already left NYC to jam the roads that lead to the pristine beaches and quiet towns that make up The Hamptons. By 5 pm, the single lane roadways carrying these thousands of anxious autos move about as fast as that old man driving a tractor in front of us did.
3) See #1.
So, on to plan B. On to the North Fork, aka.. Wine Country or The Un-Hamptons.
It’s different than it’s sister on the South fork of Long Island.
It’s not chic, it’s not the “place to be to be seen”, or full of pretentious types that demand to be seen.
In fact, it’s pretty down to earth. It has country roads that look as if you may accidentally may end up on the set of the movie, Deliverance, but lead to a hidden vineyard bursting with folk music, or perhaps you’ll stumble upon a restaurant that you need to do a double take to make sure that it is not someone’s home.
The main road, Sound Avenue, is lined with bucolic images reminiscent of those from a Renoir painting, road side farm stands, wineries every couple of miles and tiny shacks where you can pick up a lovely bouquets of wild flowers and fresh blackberries ready to snack on.
And of course, strawberry fields….forever.
“Smoke Daddy!!!..Smoke..!” yells my little one.
Scarring the crap out of me, as if I haven’t been paying attention, I quickly look at all of the meters on the dashboard as if I was overheating…no.
He saw the tractors harvesting in the fields as we were turning into one of the many road side places with signs shouting about their strawberries being the best on the island.
We get out, stretch our legs, pay our $5, grab our Easter baskets and head for the fields.
The winds are warm but soothing. The air is laced with the sweet scent of strawberries. The sun is strong and high in the sky…and at this moment there is nothing wrong in the world.
This time of year uncovering these delicious gems is so easy, my little dude is ready to head out on a berry picking journey, but doesn’t know where to begin. So…he makes mommy carry him.
One after another, into the basket.
The next, better than the last.
Like the old saying… “It was as easy as taking candy from a baby.”
There they were. Right in front of you, on the ground, covered by straw and their own leaves.
Sweet, juicy and I couldn’t stop popping them into my mouth. Nothing tastes as good as fresh picked fruit.
They were clean, soft and made me smile with every bite.
Picking strawberries is really much more than just picking strawberries.
For me it’s about possibilities. Cool ideas to spark my inner gourmand.
Strawberry shortcake? Of course, but funky things too, like strawberry bbq sauce and strawberry bruschetta.
It’s quality time spent with my loved ones.
It’s adventure and unknown possibilities.
It’s Pure and it’s good. Simple.
Enjoy your journey…wherever it takes you.
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