It’s officially strawberry season here in Massachusetts, and farmers are reporting a bountiful crop this year due to the heat wave the area experienced at the end of May.

“With strawberries, the more sun you have, the sweeter they are,” a local farmer told the Boston Globe.  In fact, the strawberries from this year’s crop have some of the highest sugar content, making them nearly perfect for consumption.

With the topic a ripe one (pun intended), we chatted with area chefs about how strawberry season will affect their menus and where we can find the juicy fruit incorporated into our starters, entrees, sides and desserts in the coming weeks.

Jared Forman, Chef de Cuisine at Strip T’s

“Strawberries are great for being so versatile. They are sweet, but have good acidity. You can use them when they are crisp, or super juicy or even immature and still green. They can be used sweet or savory, hot or cold. The seeds give them texture. You can even just eat them raw… Preferably while standing in a shady spot on a hot New England summer day.”

Dishes:

  • Macerated strawberries in fish sauce and merlot vinegar for a lobster dish with asparagus puree and fried polenta.
  • Jam, mostardo, consommé with house-made ham, dessert applications and others to come.
  • Strawberry and Chardonnay vin syrup for homemade Rickey’s as well. Maybe some marshmallows.

Chef Robert Sisca, Executive Chef/Partner at Bistro du Midi

“I love when spring/summer hits and strawberries start to come into season. I like to work them into savory dishes as well as dessert.”

Dish:

  • Seared foie gras with strawberry and rhubarb compote. “The sweetness of the strawberries complements the richness of the foie gras.”

Brian Poe of The Tip Tap Room; Poe’s Kitchen at the Rattlesnake; Estelle’s Southern Cuisine

“To me, strawberries reminds me of a road trip through Northern California with my friend Ruby who grew up in Mendocino. We were in the middle of the Redwood Forest and she told me to pull over. We went about 20 feet off the road and we picked our lunch of wild strawberries. That day I created a salad idea that I have put on my menu every season since 2002.”

Dish, available at The Tip Tap Room:

  • Strawberry salad with mint vinaigrette, butter toasted hazelnuts, goat cheese and mizuna greens.

Molly Hanson, Pastry Chef Post 390 & Grill 23

“We live in Concord so we are so lucky with our neighboring farms featuring strawberries here in town.”

Dishes:

  • Peanut panna cotta with farm strawberries, jam and peanut butter cookie crumble at Post 390.
  • Native strawberry tart with basil ice at Grill 23

Ayr Muir, founder of Clover

“Strawberry season is one of our favorite times of the year at Clover. At Clover we’re focused on growing seasons, and those aren’t Summer, Fall, Winter, they’re Strawberry, Blueberry, Raspberry … Strawberry season is one of the sweetest, and shortest. We make all the strawberry items we can.”

Dishes:

  • Strawberries and Cream
  • Stawberry Agua Fesca
  • Strawberry Lemonade
  • Strawberry Soda (Clover-made of course)
  • Strawberry Whoopie Pies on Fridays
  • Strawberries on Oatmeal
  • Strawberries with Yogurt and Granola.
  • “Berry Berry Salad” – Strawberries, Wheatberries, and balsamic vinaigrette.

Chef Jeff Fournier of 51 Lincoln and Waban Kitchen

“Strawberries hold a very special place in my heart because they represented my first entrepreneur effort! My parents let me be in charge of the strawberry patch in our garden. So even now whenever I eat strawberries, I always think of cultivating and selling strawberries when I was 10.”

“Strawberries are extremely versatile. Not only do they make a great dessert (strawberry short cake is one of my favorite desserts of all time), they work great in sauces and savory dishes too. Also, if you don’t like to cook them or mess them too much, try topping fresh strawberries with a few drops of balsamic vinegar, mascarpone and some freshly cracked black pepper; ridiculously good.”

Chef Eric Brennan, Post 390

“As far as strawberry season for me…I have never missed a year picking my own strawberries with my family at Ward’s Berry Farm in Sharon since I lived here.  In the past, it was with my family, but now that my kids are older, I went with the staff of Post 390. Great start to the season and to inspire us all with what Jim is doing over there on the farm.”

Dishes:

  • Salad of Market Lettuces with Native Strawberries, Duck Prosciutto, Berkshire Bleu Cheese, Smoked Almonds and Raspberry Vinaigrette
  • Strawberry Rhubarb Napoleon, Sweetened Ricotta, Strawberry- Rhubarb Mascarpone, Aged Balsamic and Basil Oil
  • Hot Smoked Salmon, Herbed Goat’s Cheese, Strawberry Salsa and Candied Pine Nuts – available June 20th

Marjorie Druker, Co-owner and Executive Chef of New England Soup Factory

“My daughter Emily was born on June 13, 1992. We were growing a garden in the backyard of our apartment. Baby sweet strawberries were growing and when my husband Paul came to bring me dinner in the hospital after giving birth he handed me six of the sweetest and most pure strawberries I have ever tasted from our garden. They were the first ones of the season. It’s always easy to remember the peak of the season now!”

“When strawberries are found fresh and local this time of year, you need to hurry up and eat them before the season ends. They are super healthy and high in anti-oxidants.”

Dishes:

  • Chilled Strawberry and Peach Soup
  • Chilled Strawberry & Raw Ginger with Creme Fraiche Soup
  • Iced Strawberry Yellow Tomato and Pineapple Gazpacho Soup
  • Chilled Strawberry Blueberry & Lime Soup

What are your favorite strawberry dishes of the season?