Hi there, Jason here…Meg's husband. Every year around this time, Meg starts jonesing for fresh strawberries. Fresh strawberries and cream, fresh strawberry ice cream, fresh strawberry jam, fresh strawberries prepared every which way. Her preferred dealer in this regard is her grandparents' strawberry patch in central Massachusetts.
Earlier this year, before the strawberry season had begun that far north, I suggested that she hit the Greenmarket for some New Jersey berries to satisfy her cravings. Accompanying a harrumph of epic proportions was her statement that "those berries aren't as good as the ones my grandparents grow". And so, the gauntlet having been thrown down, a strawberry-flavored Pepsi challenge was arranged.
Returning from Massachusetts recently with two quarts of berries fresh from the family patch, we procured single quarts of two competitors: one from Staatsburg, NY and one from Norwich, NY, both recently picked as well. With Meg out of the room, I prepared three berries for her to sample, one from each batch of similar size and color. She then tasted bites of all three while I took notes. Here's the final ranking:
1. The family berries
2. The Staatsburg berries
3. The Norwich berries
The top two were close. The Staatsburg berries smelled the sweetest, but her grandparents' berries were the juciest, had the sweetest taste, and had "good berry texture". The Norwich berries were the clear losers, the "least sweet" by far. And once again, Meg demonstrates that she knows her food…either that or she was peeking around the corner during my secret berry selection.