……or fact: Maintaining an appropriate seasonality is a basic ecological requirement for all organisms (Powell/Logan 2005).
I smelled them before I saw them while heading for the bin of oranges at the market stand a couple of days ago. The aroma of fresh strawberries smacked my limbic system to attention and like a setter sensing a fowl in the bog, I stopped, pointed, took my bearings, and made my way to a display of local strawberries on the counter. My brain rattled; surely it can’t be strawberry season yet. It is still winter and will be so for months. It is so confusing. It is not the first sign of seasonal dysfunction either. A couple of days ago there was a perky robin red-breast turning over the oak leaves in the backyard looking for delinquent worms. I wondered if, like a plant bursting early into bud, I was responding to a change in degree days, and just hallucinating that there were actual strawberries. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel in any way like I am about to burst into blossom (burst, maybe, but that’s another story) but I am feeling very befuddled about what season it is right now. I don’t think that they are calling it spring in here in Florida; I heard a woman just the other day complain about winter as she rubbed her mittened hands together. Anyhow, whatever time of year it is, it is without a doubt strawberry season but whoever heard of fresh strawberries in the winter. Like I said, I am so confused.
The strawberries were sweet and red all the way through and thus delicious. So delicious indeed that the treats I made, old school strawberry mousse with four ingredients and strawberry-rhubarb compote, did not hang about long enough to be photographed. I haven’t made mousse in years because it is so rich but I love it, love the waxy feeling left on your lips after you eat it. It inspired me to pen this little ditty
Strawberry mousse is such a pert tease
Both flavour and texture intending to please
How sweet on the lips
But how vile on the hips
It brings all self-restraint to its knees .
Anyhow, spring or not, a trip to the little market stand we frequent in Homosassa is always an adventure. The eggs are amazing. They are almost too big as recipes have to be adjusted to accommodate their volume.
The grapefruit has to be served in wash basins because there is so much juice there is not even enough room left to dip a spoon and they start to over-flow after the first three sugar granules splash aboard.
And every trip I discover a new kind of oranges. This week it was Murcott oranges. Very seedy and not large but bursting with sweet dark orange juice. I wonder if down here they orient themselves in time, not by identifying the season, but by what variety of orange is ripe. “Time to put the Christmas decorations away, the Murcotts are ripe. Oh, I have to turn the mattress, the Valencias are ripe.” (I don’t think people turn their mattresses anymore. they only have one pillowed side now so they can only be spun, not flipped – is this a ploy by the mattress manufacturers to ensure that they wear out faster so that we will buy more? There certainly are a thousand times more mattress stores than there used to be, one on every block of the commercial strips driving into any town) Anyhow, spring or not I am excited to see what new crops appear as the season evolves.
Bonus piece of random advice: Live your life in such a way that if someone spoke badly of you no-one would believe it.
© Judy Parsons 2016