Jun 3, 2019
by Peter D. Posert
Could the most beautiful smile be the smile of desire? The smile of contentment? The smile of victory? The smile of a muse has inspired men for centuries and one of the world’s most famous smiles, The Mona Lisa smile, will forever be a beguiling curiosity. But all these smiles pale in comparison the best smile of all. The one smile that rules all others. That smile is … the Sonoma County Strawberry Patch Smile!
A perfectly ripe, perfectly delicious, perfectly red, perfectly tasty, fun strawberry at the local patch is a glimmering shimmering delight to behold. Just imagine your loved one looking over at you after eating the best ripe strawberry on the planet – and they are right here, right now, just down the street!
This is a restaurant column, I know, but really, is there a better seasonal, local, fresh, healthy, and delicious restaurant than your local strawberry patch? I don’t think so. These restaurants pop up and delight us for just a few months a year, starting May and rising to their full height in June. You can go down and get a great meal, a box of strawberries, for just a few dollars and have a sublime restaurant experience. The best part of the meal is… the priceless happy smile of your loved one – if you share your strawberries that is.
You can discuss the alluvial or sedimentary loam or schist soil under the strawberries just like with the microclimates of wine. You can discuss the grafted rootstock or the clones of the berries. You can ponder which French oak aging barrel would be better with your homemade strawberry jam: Limousin, Vosge or Nevers (I’d go with the Nevers myself!). Or you can just eat your delicious strawberries and not worry about all that wine stuff for a day.
Some folks I know bring along a little water to rinse their berries and eat them on the spot, but other folks I know just eat them on the spot anyway. Most of our farms are organic and don’t spray anything harmful, they know what’s going on.
The second-best part of getting down to the strawberry patches, besides munching them on the spot, is the take home box and what you do with the berries when you get home! I ALWAYS get an extra couple of boxes and make homemade strawberry ice cream – always! (Recipe below). Making a couple of jars of strawberry jam in June for later in the year is not the worst thing you can do for an hour or two in late spring, because I know, spreading that homemade strawberry jam on a homemade biscuit or scone in the middle of winter on a rainy morning is a thing of beauty.
They are a throwback to a simpler time with painted signs on the walls and handwritten price lists. The sellers are sweet and friendly and happy. The whole experience has only one possible outcome. The trip to the patch has one simple result, just one thing comes out of the deal, because for just one little flickering moment at least, you’ll smile your best true smile, the smile from the heart. It’s Strawberry Patch Time in Sonoma County.
1120 Watmaugh Rd, Sonoma. Drop dead, stop my heart, killer strawberries at the crossroads of Watmaugh and Arnold. Life is good.
9250 Hwy 12, Kenwood. The powerful flavor of these deliciously fresh morsels will send shivers of joy down your spine. These strawberries are fantastic!
5556 Sebastopol Ave., Sebastopol. “Turn the car around and go get another box, honey, because this box isn’t going to make it home. In fact, let’s just stay here all day eating Lao’s strawberries.” These strawberries are so good!
735 Stony Point Rd, Petaluma. Pulling into the parking lot and walking all the way up to the little sales shack takes too long at Stony Point Strawberries! You’ll probably want to run the 20 yards or so… The large tasty red globes that will make you think you’ve hit the strawberry powerball jackpot.
(around 2161 N. Petaluma Blvd., Petaluma. Shhh, it isn’t on any map). Why eat anything else for, like, a week? Just one taste of Wenn’s Strawberry’s intensely bright and sumptuous flavor will have you buying a whole flat instead of a box.
2550 Linden Ave., Healdsburg (Tasted at the Marin Farmers Market). Delightful strawberry essence oozes from these berries. I just want to go to that U-Pick day mid-month for down-home family fun.
Question: How many strawberries can I possible pick?
Answer: At Front Porch Farm, not enough!
There are two pieces to make, the fruit flavoring and the cream base. Get both as cold as possible before churning for more dense, less airy ice cream. This custard has a mild flavor with a long lingering strawberry finish, perfect for sweeter syrups or swirls on top – I like a little drizzle of balsamic.
Sweet Cream Base
1 pint heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
Approx. 1/3- ½ cup brown sugar depending upon preference
1 Tblspn Molasses
At least 1 pint strawberry
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
¼ cup brown sugar
Mix each part and add together, get the flavor to your liking with balsamic, rose water, or other additions and churn until firm.
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