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Nothing compares to a Nebraskan grown strawberry

Diane Becker, "Country Life"

We’ve been in strawberry heaven the last couple of weeks. Although we don’t grow the berries, we came upon a farm on the way to Lincoln in mid-June where they grow strawberries by the pallet load. We stopped in and ended up buying 16 quarts of tasty Nebraska grown strawberries. There’s no better fruit anywhere.

I speak as a strawberry expert. One of my earliest memories growing up was picking and eating strawberries at our neighbor’s large patch. Later, we had a strawberry patch, too, with large red, tangy strawberries that would take us many June afternoons to pick.

We buy strawberries at the grocery store, but I’ve never purchased any there that are as flavorful as good Nebraska strawberries. It took my kids one taste of the Nebraska berries to agree that there’s no comparison to those shipped in from other states and countries.

We bought eight quarts the first time passing through and another eight quarts the next week. What to do with all those strawberries? Strawberries and whipped cream on angel food cake is one of our favorite desserts, but I made a couple of fresh strawberry pies that we ate in about two days, too. Most of the berries we snacked on, as we’re a serious strawberry-eating family.

It’s so nice to have a Nebraska strawberry source. We’ve tried to grow them in the garden but the plants have lots of leaves and runners and not much fruit and what fruit they do have is nibbled by wild animals before we can get to them.

I tried growing patio strawberry plants last summer, which works well if you like to eat one strawberry per week. Buying them from a strawberry growing professional is definitely the way to go.

It does take a while to clean all these strawberries. Growing up, we had little silver tools that looked like thick tweezers that we used to pinch off the leafy heads of the strawberries. If you worked it just right you could pull out the leaf and the little white core in the berry. When you use a knife, it’s easy to chop off too much strawberry, so I’m on the lookout for strawberry tweezers for next year.

I’m hoping the strawberry farmer has a market for all of the pallets of strawberries that were sitting in his shed when I bought ours. We’re depending on him to grow strawberries for many years to come.

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