Some things are just wrong.
California strawberries are just wrong.
Got around last Friday to pulling on the gloves and executing the annual post-holiday cleaning of the DeMeer fridge.
Hidden at the very back, on the bottom shelf under some unidentifiable variety of cheese, was a one-pound clamshell of California strawberries.
Those berries were purchased December 23 for Christmas Day breakfast and they never made it to the table.
My first thought was to grab the tongs and possibly don a Hazmat suit.
Common sense suggests any self-respecting fruit that languishes for 13 days in the corner of the fridge ought to be of a thoroughly disgusting nature – moldy, decomposed and dripping.
Imagine my surprise upon discovering the berries appeared quite fresh. They were bright red, firm and looked basically ready to hop onto a pancake and be smothered with maple syrup and whipped cream.
And that’s just wrong.
What does one have to do to a berry in order that it can live for weeks off the vine?
The container’s label offered little in the way of explanation.
It said these berries were not genetically modified, which under the circumstances was further cause for alarm.
The label also proclaimed the berries to be gluten-free, fat free and sodium free.
Presumably that last part was for consumers who might confuse strawberries with pizza crust.
According to a 2016 article published by Fox News – an aside, have never quoted Fox News before. It also feels wrong – strawberries are the most contaminated produce in the United States.
California is that country’s largest strawberry producer, harvesting 2.3 billion pounds of the fruit in 2014.
Every acre of Californian strawberries is treated with 300 pounds of pesticides and 98 per cent of berries tested contain pesticide residue.
This has to be the reason the flesh of the berries is so pretty, when it should be withered and decayed.
Now, this rules out eating California strawberries. But one does have to wonder what miracles might occur if a 50-year-old woman crushed them up and applied them to her face.
Food for thought.
Staring at the clamshell of berries, it was impossible not to think of our own short but sweet strawberry season here in BC.
Last summer Vivian O’Conner was the most popular woman at the Princeton outdoor market when she drove to the Lower Mainland each Saturday morning to pick up fresh, organic strawberries.
They were bursting with flavor and juice. They were delectable rubies, red and plump in their baskets. They smelled like heaven.
And they only lasted in the fridge for a couple of days.
Which is what nature intended, surely.
If you really want to feed your family strawberries, just wait until June.
If you insist on eating strawberries in the winter, you might want to employ tongs and wear a Hazmat suit.