Well. The time has come! Strawberries—the local ones, the red ones, the sweet ones, the ones worth eating—they're finally here. Something I never thought about until this year was varieties. Obviously, there are all kinds of varieties with most fruits and vegetables. But strawberries usually seem so...similar.
Not so, it turns out. Bartlett's Farm on Nantucket grows fourteen varieties. Tony Andrews Farm in Falmouth likes Honey-Eye and All-Star because they get ripe early, and as a pick-your-own place, they like to be done with the season by the time the weather gets too hot. Checkerberry Farm in Orleans like Evie-2, a big sweet berry that fruits once in June and again in August. Hay Shaker Farm in Truro likes Sparkles, because they're small and sweet and high yielding.
If you're into geeking out over this kind of thing, check out this exhaustive list of strawberry varieties, and click on the MA section to see varieties recommended for Massachusetts.
Personally, I like them all. Of course, the sweeter the better. And I especially like strawberry shortcake. Here's a no-miss version, from Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce. Happy eating!
I've adapted this a bit from Kim's original. You can use either half all-purpose flour and half whole-wheat here. I prefer all whole wheat. Also, later in the season when strawberries overlap for a brief time with peaches, I think a peach-strawberry rendition would be fantastic.
for the biscuits:
1 and 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 cup cold heavy cream
for the filling:
1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 cup cold heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients for the biscuits. Use a fork to stir in the cream until the dough is "shaggy"—a perfect word from Kim for the texture you're looking for. As soon as it comes together, form the dough into six mounds and arrange them evenly on a baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes, until golden brown. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, toss the strawberries with the sugar. Let them macerate at room temperature for about half an hour. Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks and chill.
To assemble: cut the biscuits in half, top with strawberries and a bit of juice and a dollop of cool cream.