Strawberry picking in the city is a funny thing. Or I guess I should technically say just outside the city - the ‘burbs.
You see, where I grew up, when you wanted to pick fruit, you drove to the local farm. You’d stop and say hello with one of the old-timers, who was of course part of the family farm. Usually, he be missing a few teeth. Always, he’d be armed with directions to the sweetest patch of fruit. He’d give you a basket or box to go pick, and then you’d be on your way.
It was always a swell time.
In (or just outside) the city, it’s certainly a swell time, too. But the scene looks a little (and by that I mean a lot) different.
When you roll up to the ‘burbs farm, or at least the one I recently visited, you find not old geezers hanging around in their holey shirts and overalls. Nope. Instead, you find a parking lot packed with 200+ cars. I kid you not.
You also find kids. And cameras. And hot dog stands. And maybe even a carnival ride. Not sure if that last part actually existed where I went, but there was definitely some kind of train riding and face painting action going on, and I felt as though I might as well have been at a carnival. Although again, the only thing that was missing was the guys with no teeth.
What really set the experience apart, however, was the part where I had to pay $5 before even going to pick the strawberries I dreamt about all morning. Pay-before-you-pick? City picking isn’t cheap, I tell you. In fact, you might be better off just buying a few pints at the store. But that’s obviously no fun, right? It’s okay. I ate my weight in strawberries while out in the field to make up for it.
I left my gorging-on-strawberries, red-stained, kid-like self in the strawberry field, and decided to become an adult again once I returned home. The results are this salad.
After this, I can tell you for once, I feel okay about getting older. Strawberries in my kale salad? Heck, I’ll call myself an adult any day if that’s what comes from it. Just don’t quote me on that when I’m eating a large bowl of strawberries and ice cream for dessert. And the strawberry juice is running all down my face. Because I’m licking the bowl. Because I’m a kid. At heart.
A little salty (thank you feta), a little sweet (cheers to local strawberry season), and a little earthy (thank you almighty kale), this salad hits every note in all the right ways. Plate it up over cooked bulgur to make it a meal, or send it off to a picnic and become the star of the party. It won’t let you down – even if your strawberry experience is a bit more dubious.
- -1 bunch of lacinato kale (or variety of your choice), chopped
- -1 1/2 cups strawberries, sliced
- -1 small (or 1/2 lg.) onion, thinly sliced
- -1/4 cup fresh oregano, chopped
- -1/3 cup crumbled feta
- -1/3 cup pan-toasted almonds, chopped (pistachios or toasted pecans would work well, too)
- -1/4 - 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- -2 Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
- -Salt and pepper, to taste
- -2 cups cooked bulgur wheat
- -1/2 large lemon
- Place kale and onion in a bowl. Whisk olive oil, balsamic, and salt and pepper, to taste, to make the dressing. Pour over the veggies, and use your hands to massage into the kale leaves. If you feel like you need more dressing, add another splash of olive oil. Stir in strawberries and feta. Top with toasted almonds.
- Meanwhile, toss bulgur with lemon juice, oregano and a drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place salad on top, and finish with the toasted almonds. Serve.