Berry, Berry Good

It’s October 24th and I ate local strawberries for breakfast this morning. This is crazy.

There are a few farmers who grow a variety of strawberry that is ever-bearing. That is, the plants produce fruit continuously from June until the first frost. Usually that first frost comes in early October, but this year, October has set record high temperatures, with days in the mid to high 20s. Thanksgiving hit 32′C, with a humidex of 40′C.  This is good strawberry weather.

I happened across this box at one of the fruit vendors at St. Lawrence Market yesterday. I stopped to buy a fresh fig and ignored the berries, figuring they were from California. Then I noticed the sign that said they were Ontario strawberries, and despite my mostly frugal ways (priced at $4.99, they were considerably more than the $3 to $3.50 I had been paying at the Farmer’s Markets all summer) I figured they would be the last berries I’d get until June, so I splurged.

Usually the ever-bearing berries tend to lose their flavour by the fall. They’re still better that the hard woody imported strawberries from the supermarket, but they’re just not as sweet as the first crop of the summer. These, however, taste like June berries. The warm weather and a decent amount of rain has made them plump and gorgeous and sweet.

We ate them with a vanilla-infused rice pudding sprinkled with grated chocolate. It was the perfect way to celebrate the last strawberries of the year.