Strawberries (Richard Hartog/Los Angeles…)
At last the strawberry fields seem to have shaken off the winter's cold. Now they are back to what they do best: pumping out berries like there's no tomorrow.
Probably the best varieties are old favorites Chandler, Gaviota or Seascape -- taste and see which seems better from that farmer on that day.
How to choose: Choosing good strawberries is pretty simple: your nose will know. Sniff around until you find a stand where the berries smell so good you can't resist. That's all there is to it, though you should also check the bottom of the basket to make sure the berries haven't gone over the hill and started leaking.
How to store: You can refrigerate berries, but I think the flavor is best if you leave them at room temperature and eat them the same day. Wash gently in cool running water, pat dry and then hull them, removing the green top (removing it before washing will cause the berries to absorb more water).
One simple dish: Is there anything easier -- or better -- than the first good strawberries cut up and sugared and served with lightly sweetened whipped cream? Toss in a shortcake (biscuit-style please) and you've got heaven.