When I get the first sighting of freshly picked strawberries, I become like Capt. Queeg in "The Caine Mutiny," rubbing my paws together and chanting "The strawberries, yes, the strawberries!" It's time at last. I shot this picture Saturday at the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market, right after tucking a basket of berry beauties in my bag. (Of course I paid for them. What do you take me for?)
The Observer's annual list of pick-your-own farms runs tomorrow, and we'll keep it up through the fall to point you toward everything from strawberries to blueberries to pumpkins. Go to www.charlotteobserver.com/food after midnight or so tonight to find it. And check out the cool Google mapping software, put together by my co-worker Ted Mellnik.
In tomorrow's paper, look for Andrea Weigl's story and recipes celebrating strawberries, along with the print version of the list.
Most of the farms I talked to last week say they expect to open the fields for picking by this weekend. Strawberry smoothies, strawberry pies, strawberries eaten by the bowlful. The strawberries, yes, the strawberries. And then the asparagus, and the blueberries, and the peaches, ah yes, the peaches. It's time, folks.