Strawberries are probably my favorite “American” (as opposed to Filipino) fruit. I ate a lot of strawberries when I lived in the Philippines. And I still eat a good amount when the price is right.
Fortunately, it’s strawberry season in Florida so I’ve been eating strawberries every day. In the mornings, I top my cereal with sliced strawberries. At lunch, I have them as dessert. In the evening, I put them on ice cream. Weekends, strawberries sit atop my bagel and cream cheese. When I want a snack, I blend strawberries with yogurt for a strawberry smoothie.
The season must be peaking because strawberry prices are very good. I first bought them a few weeks ago for $2.50 a pound. Then they dropped to $2 a pound. Since last week, they have been about $1.70 a pound (three pounds for $5.) And this is at the grocery store. They may be cheaper at the roadside stands.
When I lived in the Philippines, the top of the strawberry lineage was “Baguio” strawberries, possibly because of the higher altitude in Benguet province, where Baguio is located. In Florida, the top of the lineage is Plant City strawberries, which purportedly is the source for 75% of the US winter strawberry supply.
Accordingly, Plant City (winter strawberry capital of the US) is home of the annual Florida Strawberry Festival which is over 75 years old and this year runs February 28 – March 10. I lived six years in the county adjacent to Plant City but never made to the festival. In fact, I’ve lived in Florida for over 40 years now and have never made it to the festival.
One reason is that I don’t like large crowds and this festival is said to be among the top 40 in the country. Also, early March is not always good weather, even in Florida. (The forecast for early this morning is a low of 28.)
Next year, weather permitting, that will end. Since I’ll be retired by then, I’ll be able to attend the festival during a weekday when the crowd will presumably be smaller.
I may see a band from my youth. This year, the performers include Chubby Checker and Foreigner. But for sure, I’ll indulge in all things strawberry!