Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Strawberries and Cream!!!! All You Can Eat!



Finally, all the strawberries I ever wanted!

And then some.

Forget that trip to Wimbledon for strawberries and cream! This June Roberto planted one hectare (2.5 acres) of teeny tiny strawberry plants as a pilot project to replace boring and increasingly less profitable soy fields.

Blessed by the warm sun here, nestled in rows of fertile earth scientifically fertilized and irrigated, we have been reaping a harvest that shot up to 500 kilograms (that's 1,200 pounds) per day just a week ago. Nearly two tons this season!

Imagine how many strawberry shortcakes you can make with that! And strawberry preserves, strawberry liqueurs, strawberry sorbet, strawberry lemonade. . . the list is endless for these versatile, luscious fruits! Later we'll move into blueberries and raspberries, if all goes well.

We've named our venture "Berryland," an unintended but felicitous hybrid of "Disneyland" and "Knott's Berry Farm," both in Orange County, California, where I grew up! "Berry" has no Spanish equivalent, unsurprising since berries are not very common. While the strawberry has made inroads into the Argentine diet, the recipes are few and the season short. We hope to change all that!

Meanwhile, there's a lot of testing and tasting going on in our kitchen. The hands-down winner is the cream cheese, mint-garnished strawberry in the photograph above. With women, the enormous berries dipped in semi-sweet chocolate are the biggest temptation--and that's in spite of the fact that every female here except is on a diet!

We never tire of strawberries here! In fact, one night we slept with 150 pounds of them encircling the bed to keep them cool (thank you, Carrier!) on a surprisingly warm night in October. The refrigerator and two freezers are overflowing with whole, sliced, and pureed strawberries to enjoy all year long.

So send me your favorite berry recipes and experiences! And if you visit San Nicolas, stop by the farm and pick your own! Write me at gscroggs@intercom.com.ar and we can arrange it. But do it soon because the strawberry season will be over before you can say “Kris Kringle”!

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