One of the best things about the short New England summer, besides being only a short winter skiing break, is the short growing season. It's not often mentioned but my sense is that this short growing season and the climate of New England produce the most densely-flavored fruit. By densely-flavored I mean that the fruit is much smaller than fruit grown in other parts of the world and has a more intense flavor. It's really quite the treat. We are truly spoiled to have so many fresh strawberries, blueberries, cranberries and the like to choose from. I wouldn't have believed it myself but once I hand-picked my first bag of wild Maine blueberries, I was hooked. These berries also freeze very well. All in all, the flavor of our native New England fruits should not be missed! It's also convenient because I'm trying to eat more fruits and vegetables and am always looking for creative, healthy recipes, so if you have some to share kindly send. :)
The best place, by far, to buy locally is Russo's. On the right side of their web site they list fruits and vegetables in season. Whole Foods has an amazing, tasty selection as well as a large selection of organic produce and some local produce. For the budget-conscious among us, Trader Joe's also has a growing selection of organic and local produce. The produce at Haymarket may not always last long or be the highest quality but is by far the cheapest option for those on a budget. You will often be dodging others for goodies so bring a big, strong bag with you and lots of patience to fulfill your fantasy of getting all the salsa or guacamole fixings for only a few bucks. There are always varied options available at our local farmer's markets or you could always pick your own.
This weekend I headed up to Maine to clear my head after an eventful week. I always enjoy spending time at the Maine Diner. What is it about a diner or deli that just calms the soul? They always relax me even if I'm only grabbing coffee and reading:
Here is the cornbread that came with my baked haddock (yum!):
Here is (ahem) most of my blueberry pie:
Here is a shot of their gift shop lobster offerings:
I was determined to leave Maine with strawberries from one of the many roadside fruit stands that I passed. Here is a shot of them; they are amazingly delicious!
Of course, for those out there like me who also enjoy "fruit festivals," check out the upcoming South Berwick Strawberry Festival or this festival review from today's NYTimes.
We'll have to wait until August for one of my favorite treats, Gifford's Maine Wild Blueberry ice cream with a Blueberry Ripple. I'll be satisfied with strawberries until then!