Look who's back!
Yes indeed! The first Quebec strawberries have hit the farmers' stands! Quebec's soil and climate are particularly well-suited to this most popular of berries, and we are really spoiled by an extra-long season (early June -in a normal year- to mid-October). Lower British Colombia and Southern Ontario just might rival Quebec for earliness, but the rest of Canada will have to wait a tad longer for their local berries to start blushing.
While these early strawbs are field-grown, they are not left out to the elements. If you recall the beginning of May, most of Ontario and Quebec got a hefty dose of snow, while BC got lashings of rain: these jewels are most likely grown under plastic tunnels. In fact, an increasing number of Quebec farmers are switching to large-scale poly-tunnels: semi-permanent 'greenhouses' that protect crops from the elements, which can extend the growing season by a good two months.
The first strawberries of the season are always pure delight -what better sign that summer is just around the corner? However, they are still on the tart side, so do buy a punnet or two for tonight's dessert, but wait before you gorge yourself silly on them.