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Last week, on one of those horrible 65 degree days we went strawberry picking as a family.  This is our second year partaking of the delightful annual treat.  Why I went thirty-some-odd years without picking local strawberries is simply beyond me.
  No offense to the Driscoll clamshell but those giant, golf ball sized, cardboard berries are nothing compared sweet, red, little berries found by a family in the fields. 
At $1.75 a pound I suppose the price is pretty equivalent to a large $7.99 thingy at Trader Joe’s but our local farm is only lightly sprayed at the beginning of the season, they are Christians and you get to make the memory.  They are so laid back – no pickiness about My Chickens that would rather sit, a-la- Little Sal and munch away on fresh berries… for free. (OK, I know Sal ate Blueberries but I could not resist!)  They even let charities come in and pick at the end of the day for the needy.
So right now we have a fridge full of strawberries that we have been enjoying every day.  I should video Hoolie’s reaction when I pull them out.  She about goes into orbit!  We will go again next week and stock up for the freezer but right now it’s all about the fresh factor!  Until our 75 plants get going in the Potager this is the way to go, and even then, I don’t know if I will be able to resist the lushness and the heavenly aroma of acres of strawberries. 
 My Gramma’s CB name was “Strawberry” during their farming years (how cute is that???)… back when she drove a grain truck when it was time to help out and the pick up truck when it was time to bring sandwiches to the men in the fields.  Back before cell phones and texting… 
“You got a copy?” 
 I am so happy to have my own memories of farming CB lingo, the smell of Grandpas pickup truck, lunches packed with sandwiches, Pepsi and Snicker bars.  (Before Gramma went holistic and healthy!)  When her kids were growing up I guess their own strawberry patch was huge… once somewhere out in that yard I have roamed a thousand times.  
You’ve never experienced Strawberry Shortcake until you’ve experienced hers!
Start with the best, sweetest strawberries you can find.   
Don’t wash them ’til right before use of course!  Gently strain but don’t pat or allow them to become completely dry.
After removing the tops take a handful and gently press the knife down to your palm, a messy, haphazard sort of cut to release the juices.  Then add a bit of sugar (we use organic, evaporated cane juice) and set them to the side.  (Pre-heat your oven to 450 now) The sugar will draw out the juices and combine with the residual water.  You can also use this technique for freezing your berries.
Now for the Shortcake and assembly technique!  
(No more round, spongy, yellow thingys.)
This is a recipe I photocopied from an old Better Homes and Gardens cookbook off Gramma’s shelf:
“Rich Shortcake”
2 cups of flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
4 teaspoons of baking powder
1 tablespoon of sugar
1/3 cup of shortening
1 well beaten egg
1/2 cup of milk
“Sift dry ingredients, cut in shortening until mixture is like coarse crumbs.  Add combined egg and milk, stirring just until moistened.”
Now my own words – press it into rough rounds (see photo below) and bake on 450 for 15-18 minutes.
For assembly you will need strawberries, really good vanilla ice cream, 1/2 and 1/2 and a biscuit –
Layer as you wish – see photo.  But you gotta do the 1/2 and 1/2 poured over everything… it mixes with the strawberry juice…
Oh my gosh.  Oh my gosh.  Oh my gosh.  Oh my gosh.
Try this supremely delightful experience after one of your meals this Holiday weekend… and then for breakfast the next day! 
 Sigh…
Happy FOURTH of JULY!!!
Bon Appetit!