Berry Local Strawberries
By Chef Bryan Weener from Haggen Market Street Catering
Here at Haggen the changing of the seasons is more than a shift in the weather, it’s a renewal of life and an exploration of what’s new for the taste buds. The upcoming summer season is exciting around here as we transition to one of the most bountiful times of the year in the Northwest. Our Market Street Catering chef, Bryan Weener, loves discovering new Northwest flavors and is an expert at integrating our local specialties into his seasonal catering menu. Here are Bryan’s insight into our local strawberry harvest.
Did you know there are two kinds of strawberry plants out there? There’s the everbearer, which gives fruit all summer long starting in mid-June through late September, and the June-bearer, which produces one large crop early in the season and then tapers off its production.
Everbearers give a smaller yield at a time but give fruit for three months or more. They are good for the climate of the northwest because strawberries like warm (not hot) days and cool nights. The rest of the country gets too hot in the daytime and the plants simply can’t produce as well. Anything over 80 degrees and the everbearers shut down.
Sweeten up the deal with these Almond Cream Drop Biscuits with Local Strawberries for your next outdoor soiree!
The June-bearer producers fruit in June for 3-4 weeks and that’s it. They give a huge yield, unlike the everbearers, and these are usually the U-pick places you see on the road side out in the county. It generally takes two seasons to get berries from June-bearers so don’t expect to be rollin’ in the berries the first season you plant them. Some “old timers” recommend pinching off all the blossoms the first season because it makes the plants roots grow stronger and more capable of supporting more berries the next season.
I enjoy both types and grow them both in my own garden. With the abundance of local berries arriving at your local Haggen produce market, there’s no shortage of ways to eat them! For breakfast, I add them to my granola and yogurt or over pancakes sliced and tossed with a little sugar and lemon zest. For dessert I love to make Almond Cream Drop Biscuits with fresh local strawberries. Keep in mind that local berries are delicate and are best enjoyed 3 days after picking. At Haggen, we get fresh berries everyday throughout the season so you know you’ll get that fresh picked flavor.