The really pretty strawberries are starting to come in at the grocery now; we’ve already gotten a couple of containers. It’s not quite warm enough here for our strawberry picking or for the local ones to be at farmer’s markets — that’s more like mid-April, I think, here in central Alabama.
We like to go picking fruit. We do muscadine and scuppernong almost every year, plus I have a friend with some nice vines so that makes it even easier. The last couple of years we’ve done blueberries, and we should do more apple picking, really. Pick Your Own is a great site to see what’s available in your area. The first container of strawberries this year were just for snacking on, and the ones that managed to get a little over-ripe went to the chickens, who looooved them. I really meant, though, to try to make a pie something like Strawn’s Eat Shop in Shreveport, which is the #1 place in the entire universe for strawberry pies.
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From a couple of our visits:
even the produce truck we saw pull up there one day was gorgeous
Okay, well now I’m in the mood for all things strawberry, and the idea that we’ll hopefully be out in the strawberry fields with baskets next month makes me really happy.
Porky’s Pride in Fultondale used to do a strawberry ‘nana puddin
Below, the strawberry butter at a church-run, now-shuttered, restaurant called Kairo’s Kafe in Birmingham, which was in the old Ollie’s Barbecue building. Once Ollie’s family took over and moved the business to Hoover, it floundered and closed (then the Daphne one too), so now maybe the only Ollie’s thing left is their bbq sauce in grocery stores.
The Ollie’s waitresses could remember gigantic orders without writing them down. There were tracts by the register. The pies were amazing and I have a recipe for their chocolate pie which is one of my FIL’s fave things I make. (I’ll post it here soon). And if you’re in the mood to read about a barbecue/civil rights lawsuit, here you go. The round building that housed the business is a B’ham landmark, and people still talk about missing the old Ollie’s.
Here, the srawberry cobbler at the now-shuttered Helen’s Place in Clanton, Alabama — an area famous for their peaches. This dish made USA Today’s list for best desserts in the south back in 2008, which put this sweet little house-turned-restaurant on a small town sidestreet right alongside Cochon and Commander’s Palace.
At the Amish community outside Pontotoc, Mississippi
I was incredibly proud of this fraisier I made
…and strawberry shortcake
In Hartselle, Alabama
IYKYK (I’ve never had a bite of theirs, but one of my best friends says there’s none better and doesn’t care what anybody has to say about Shoney’s. That’s good enough for me. When we find a Shoney’s in the wild — it’s not so easy — we like to run in and buy a whole pie to take home to his momma and daddy, who often reminisce about sharing a slice back when they were teenagers and dating)
strawberry sorbet at The Grill Room at the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans
fried pie flavors at the Peach Pit in Clanton
strawberry-chocolate muffins I made last week, vaguely based on the recipe in the NYT for Ritz-Carlton blueberry muffins
Let’s end with a Renoir that was on view at Crystal Bridges at a visit in 2014