When the sun comes out from behind the grey cloud cover that often blankets Western Washington and Oregon, one of my first thoughts (after the obvious Thank You God) is “Let’s have a picnic.” Is there anything more deeply nurturing than gathering a friend or two and heading into glorious nature with a treasure trove of great things to eat and drink? Not in my book.
Although blueberries are indigenous to American soil and were one of the first fruits encountered by early settlers, the blueberry industry was still a relative newcomer to Washington and Oregon agribusiness in the 1990’s when I first wrote about it in Pacific Northwest Palate: Four Seasons of Great Cooking. At that time, the industry was 25-30 years young by most accounts.
If you ask ten people at random to name their favorite berry, eight of them will say, “strawberries of course.” And who’s to argue? In the height of Northwest strawberry season, it’s hard to imagine anything tasting better than these juicy, incredibly sweet, powerfully flavorful berries. They are simply perfection.