Thursday, August 5, 2010


It's late in the season, but my strawberries don't seem to know that. They are just kicking into high gear, producing delicious dishfuls every morning. By the looks of things they don't have any intention of stopping either. It's always a race to beat the raccoons and skunks to them, however.

The wild strawberries (below) in the rock garden are also still producing. They may be tiny, but they are intensely flavorful.

The first time I picked wild strawberries was in Algonquin Park. I was deep in the back country on a very challenging canoe trip when bad weather set in. Choppy water prevented us from retreating, so we advanced instead, portaging further into the bush to a river where my friend promised there was an old log cabin for shelter.

We canoed for an hour up the small tributary and as we pulled up onto a sandy shore, the sun suddenly came out. Before us was the most glorious field of wild strawberries. It was magical. There they were, flourishing picturesquely in this totally secluded spot, unseen by man, save for the odd nutty gung-ho canoeist or two. We dropped to our knees and ate like fiends. Each tiny strawberry bursting with flavor. After about ten minutes of dizzying bingeing we both realized that where there are wild strawberries, there are also bears. The log cabin he promised for shelter was not safe to inhabit, so we hightailed it out of there. But I have never forgotten that first feast. It was worth every stroke of the paddle. Wild is always better than tame in my books. In food and in people.

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