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Small strawberries, big taste

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I harvested my first alpine strawberries of the season this weekend – and what a sweet milestone it was.

I love all berries – blueberries and raspberries especially – and I don’t disdain those big red strawberries in the grocery store (or even better, from the local farmers’ market). But there’s something special about the little alpines.

The taste is delightful – a mouthful of flavor concentrated in a tiny package. And, unlike regular strawberries, they don’t produce runners, so they don’t require much space, special methods of planting, or any ongoing care year after year.

I first discovered them years ago in a White Flower Farm catalog, where they were referred to as fraises des bois, which sounds much better than plain old strawberries any day.

For some reason, I had bought a strawberry pot that spring and had this idea I’d grow strawberries in it. So I ordered a packet of seeds, planted them in a flat, and they germinated and grew.

I was able to harvest berries that same year – all through the summer and into fall, which is one of their nicest characteristics, I think.

I’m pretty sure my little plants never made it into the strawberry pot – I admire how the pots look in magazine photographs, but they always seem to take more effort than I want to devote to them.

Instead, I planted the alpine strawberries in hanging baskets and in a flower bed among some new perennials. They were nice mounded plants – great for edging – that looked attractive and produced fruit about the size of wild berries and oh-so-sweet.


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