The first fresh, locally grown strawberry of the season is always an exciting time. I have many fond memories as a kid of red covered hands and knees and blue buckets brimming with berries, picking for hours under the morning sun with my mom. I still continue to look forward to these family outings every late spring and still continue to fill my belly fuller than my bucket as the first hour goes underway.
However, I often get a little antsy during the weeks that lead up to the juicy, sweet bonanza in the local scene. As my eyes scan over the plastic containers of bright, California-born strawberries at the store, I often end up with one of them in my basket as I head for the checkout line. They’re never as tasty as the in-season ones hanging out in the teal, cardboard quarts, but when those jumbo berries go on sale, I can never help myself.
Always a little less sweet and juicy, pre-local berries are best for recipes like this. Sure, they’re still tasty straight out of the carton, but cooked into oatmeal with a little maple syrup, and you could almost forget they weren’t self-picked straight from the vine. This is one of my favorite breakfasts once on-sale strawberries hit the stores, and of course, the recipe is still fantastic once those local berries do finally start ripening to perfection.