For the recently concluded National Poetry Month, the Broome County Arts Council invited local poets to contribute a short poem about spring, hope, and/or other positive things for their POETREE.
I had hoped to make it down to the gallery to see it and take photos for this post, but I didn’t manage to do that. Instead, I have copied the poem I wrote especially for the project below:
Why We Will Never Use Weedkillers
by Joanne Corey
Every spring, we watch
the jagged-edged three-ness
of strawberry leaves emerge
from the snowmelt-soaked
lawn, the white five-petaled
blossoms attract the bees
to their sunny centers,
the green-white berries
ripen to red in June,
the squirrels feasting.
We are almost at the end of strawberry season here in upstate New York.
When I was growing up in rural New England, we always went strawberrying every spring and made lots of recipes with the fresh, flavorful berries. Back then, you only had access to fresh strawberries when they were available locally. Now you can buy them in the grocery store year-round grown somewhere far away, but we seldom buy them because they are never as good as local ones.
For many years, I picked my own from nearby farms, but now I buy them from the farmstands and embark on the annual strawberry binge.
This year, we had some of our old favorites – strawberry shortcake, fresh strawberry pie, strawberry-rhubarb pie, strawberry salad, strawberry sundaes, strawberries with yogurt, and strawberries on pancakes. We also tried some new recipes – strawberry spoon cake, strawberry-rhubarb muffins, fresh strawberry tarts, and strawberry bread pudding.
Wow! That looks like a lot when it is all written out.
I think it will tide us over until next spring, when I’m sure we’ll be ready to dive into strawberry season once again.
In my region, it is strawberry season. While strawberries from far away are available in supermarkets year-round, we almost never buy them, preferring to wait for the short but sweet local strawberry season.
When the wild strawberries in our lawn begin to ripen, it is time to head to the farmstands for quarts of flavorful, ripe berries. (It used to be time to head to the pick-your-own farms in the area but lack of time and an aging body have put an end to spending some early morning hours picking berries and avoiding slugs.)
In the early part of the season, I always make a fresh strawberry pie, using a recipe that my mom, known as Nana here at TJCM, made. It originated in a leaflet from the farm that we used to visit with her during childhood to pick strawberries. My copy was written out in Nana’s elegant cursive on a recipe card among those that she gifted to me when B and I married. We shared this year’s fresh strawberry pie topped with whipped cream with her and the family over at Mercy House, the hospice residence where Nana is now living.
As the season progresses and the berries need to be used more quickly, I move on to recipes that involve cooked berries. Last week, I made one of my favorites, strawberry rhubarb pie. I tried something different this time, using pastry cut-outs instead of a full top crust, hoping that the filling in the extra-deep pie plate would cook through without soaking the crust.
It worked! Again, the family gathered at Mercy House to enjoy pie with Nana and Paco.
Strawberry season is always a blessing, but this year even more so. Making more sweet memories is a precious gift.
The Algonquins who were native to my region named the full moon this time of year the strawberry moon.
Usually at this time of year, we are enjoying plentiful local strawberries. For many years, I would go to a local farm to pick quarts and quarts of berries. We would share some with family and then I would put the kitchen in full-blown strawberry mode. Strawberries on cereal or with yogurt for breakfast. Strawberries on fresh leaf lettuce or baby spinach with pecans and goat cheese. Strawberry shortcake. Fresh strawberry pie. Strawberry rhubarb soup. Strawberries on ice cream. Strawberry-rhubarb pie, crisp, or cobbler. Just eating them and enjoying their sweet fragrance.
The last few years, I haven’t been picking myself, but buying them from the local farmstands. We don’t often buy strawberries other than when they are local. Supermarket strawberries from hundreds or thousands of miles away just don’t compare to what our local berries taste like.
I know that the farms will have berries when the wild strawberries that grow in our yard ripen.
This year, the berries are late.
After a mild winter, the spring was chilly. While we had some wet weather in the earlier part of the spring, we are now in a dry spell. It’s all combined to make the local berries late to ripen.
Last week, I was able to find some berries from a farm about sixty miles from here and, yesterday, I finally found some from Broome-Tioga.
There is a fresh strawberry pie setting in the refrigerator. After supper, we will bring it up to Nana and Paco’s to share with them.
It’s best to eat it the day it is made.
It won’t be a hardship for the five of us to finish it.