One question that has bugged me for awhile is why the strawberries at the grocery store (even at upscale grocers like Whole Foods) always suck, and why the strawberries that garnish desserts at decent restaurants are great. Recently, I figured it out. There’s a very very fine line between a strawberry that’s optimally ripe in terms of taste and texture and a strawberry that is a mushy little rotten thing. Grocery stores can’t afford to stock ripe strawberries because by the time they get from the field to the customer’s home, they’ll be rotten. So instead they sell strawberries that are picked before they are ripe, and are thus hard and sour, and just make me pine for ripe strawberries. The turnaround time between picking a strawberry and incorporating it into a restaurant dessert is much shorter, so in the restaurant trade they can afford to offer customers ripe strawberries. Now the question is whether I can find a local strawberry field where I can pick my own, optimally ripe strawberries.