Friday, July 10, 2009

Fragaria ananassa

High: 72° F
Low: 54° F
Conditions: Sunny.

I'm not going to lie: it's been a hard-fought summer here in Maine. So hard fought, in fact, that it hasn't seemed much like summer at all. At least, not until late this week. On Thursday, the clouds broke--as if by magic--and the rain abated. Mainers--including those who pride themselves on their staid Yankee reserve--were positively ebullient. Total strangers stopped one another in parking lots and famers markets, just for the sake of celebrating the return of the sun and all those things normally associated with a New England July.

Here at caninaturalist central, those things included a return to our annual agricultural inquiry as well. The subject of our study this week? Fragaria ananassa, or the domestic strawberry. Picking them is big business in our house, where we freeze enough to serve as our main fruit source for the year. We were frankly worried about the effects of the omnipresent rain and cold over the last six weeks. And, in truth, it did delay the season and limit overall yields. Nevertheless, this morning we returned with two full flats of our favorite variety, known in the strawberry world as "sparkle."

Something as simple as a smallish berry is enough to make us giddy this year. So much so that our resident pest, Mouse, couldn't even wait for the berries to be hulled before diving in. Taking the idea of "pick your own" a little too literally, she tried to eat the entire box of berries as soon as they arrived (and by "box" we really do mean BOX):

At the ripe age of three, Ari has learned a certain restraint where culinary matters are concerned. And she's developed a seriously discerning palate at that. As we cleaned and bagged and froze and jammed and canned, she remained aloof, watching the process with the removed interest of a well-worn foodie. It wasn't, in fact, until our last batch of jam was complete and fully set that she was willing to imbibe.

The verdict? Summer has arrived in all its ooey, gooey, syrupy splendor. And thank goodness for that.


Khyra The Siberian Husky And Sometimes Her Mom said...


I wonder how that would look on the khwilt in the bedroom?


Stella said...

I am not an adventurous eater, (except for that stuff I ate in under the tree today) and I don't care for berries (but my Mom loves them raw!) so she doesn't offer me much fruit anymore. She does say that your box looks yummy though!

I'm glad you got your summer finally!


The Thundering Herd said...

Strawberries are awesome. Summer has been late here as well, but the local peaches have started rolling in. Apples are a few weeks off and we can't wait for local sweet corn - an absolute delicacy.

Lorenza said...

Looks like you have a very nice temps there!
Those strawberries look delicious!
Kisses and hugs

Tracey and Huffle said...

Mouse has the right idea.

Huffle Mawson

Gus, Louie and Callie said...

We are so glad that the sun finally arrive. You can certainly have some of ours. It is just plain HOT here.
That strawberries do look yummy. Enjoy

Big Sloppy kisses
Gus, Louie and Callie

The Army of Four said...

Woo, strawberries! Almost as good as watermelon!

Woodrow, Sweetie, MJ Campanella said...

wow looks yummy

Woodrow, Sweetie & MJ

The OP Pack said...

Oh yum!!! Mom remembers picking strawberries in New England for years and really misses those fresh berries and homemade jam. The berry season here is almost nonexistent, just too hot.


Woo, the OP Pack

TwoSpecialWires said...

We hope the rest of your summer is as beautiful as the photos in your post. Those eyes! Those strawberries! Simply gorgeous!

Jake and Fergi

Steve, Kat, & Wilbur said...

We too had some strawberries this week. Mom picked them at a place called Costco. They were very tasty and I even got a few with some whip that came from a cow called Cool.


Marigold said...

Yum! These are almost as good as Peanuts...almost. The goatmother has been picking from her patch and giving us the leftovers. :)

YD, sometimes with Samantha & June said...

Oh yummy! Mom didn't make any strawberry jam this year but she sure picked a few from her own patch. She gave us some but we weren't interested. But jam, that's yummy.

Sam & June

Amber and Nala said...

YUM!!! Strawberries are the best and they are my Mom's favorite! We got a few in our garden this year and they were sweet....I even got to taste one. :) Glad you had some nice weather finally!


Elisabeth's bright side said...

Oops, now I'm craving for fresh strawberries. Have a great week!

powder-puff said...

hey ari,

Oooo those fresh strawberries look so yummy. We have some raspberries and blueberries growing in our own small garden but my hoomans never let me have any !

lotsa love

Eve said...

I hope the rain only shows up enough to water the flowers and your season is extended into fall, I'm giddy/guilty that I'm in the south and the weather is wonderful!
I just wish I knew how to do all that canning stuff...wait...I've got a book...really just need to get off the butt I guess!
Thanks Kathryn!

Mary said...

Glad you finally got summer. Summer starte with some promise here. late may and early june were beautiful. We were told it would be a long hot suummer. July has been wet cold and windy!

JB's Big World said...

Those strawberries look very yummy and slurpy!

Kathiesbirds said...

There is nothing so sweet as a wild Maine strawberry in my book. Though tiny, they pack a sweet pucnh! Looks like the jelly times are in full swing. I am considering whether to pick prickly pears and make jelly once again this year. They are all plump and juicy right now but it is so darned hot!

Congrats on your radio spot! You sure have been busy!

dog car seat said...

Aint life grand!

Michelle said...

Mmmm....those berries look good!!

Kylie said...

Wow the strawberries look very delicious. I have a bunny before who just love to eat strawberry... She feels so contented already in her rabbit hatch is she has strawberry to eat. It gets so funny sometime when its white fur painted with pink or red color of the strawberry.

Anonymous said...

What I love about strawberries is that they are ripe and perfect for such a brief time, and then they're gone. A reminder of the transience even of good things, so savor them while you can; and then they come around again, year after year...
- - - - - - -
dog beds and more

Birthday Party Babble said...

You can't even use the wooden cutting board in our house without our dogs Huckleberry and Archer waking from a sound sleep to come and get their share. My husband has strawberries on his cereal and they each get one every morning.