Wen I first wen arrive on da mainland, I wen end up in da land of brown hills (except foa one month in March) and smog. Talk about culture shock, coming from green Hawai‘i! In da Spring, peeps began talking about da “fabulous!”, “delicious!” strawberries dat we could get. Dey wen taste
pretty good like strawberries, but mostly dey looked good and stayed looking good foa quite a while.
Aftah Nolemana and me wen get married, his company wen transfer us to Twin Falls, Idaho, and in dat litto farm town, I wen make my very first batch of strawberry jam! Da next day, I wen make my very first loaf of bread, and dat night we wen slather da jam ontop da warm bread. OMG! We wen whack almost da entire loaf in one sitting!
Den afta two years dea, Nolemana’s company wen move us to Portland. I was instantly in love wit da green dat wen remind of me of home. I loved da rivers, da flowers, da watafalls, da mountains. And da first Spring we was hea, along wen come strawberry season!
I wen holoholo ka‘a [drive] to one fruit stand dat wen advertise fresh Hood strawberries. I neva heard of one Hood strawberry, but I not stupid. Named foa Mt Hood, right? I know, I know. Mt Hood one mountain, not even shaped like one strawberry. But I digress.
I wen buy some. Dese berries wen look todally different den da California ones. Da peeps at da fruit stand wen warn me dat Hoods no stay like “those California berries… these have flavor! They’re not grown to be shipped all over, so they’re not going to keep more than a day or two. Eat or process them right away!”
I no could wait. I wen pop one into my keiki’s mout’. Anden into mines one. And wit my first bite, I could tell dat eating dem right away was not going be one problem at all! OMG! Bursts of flava like I nevah wen taste befoa wen assault my taste buds! Broke da mout’! Onolicious! We wen pop anodda one, den anodda, into our mouts! Pretty soon I had foa go back da fruit stand foa buy moa, cuz Jennifer and me wen whack dat whole basket!
Lass week was da start of da strawberry season hea in Damascus. I alla time feel kinda bittersweet about it now, cuz Nolemana’s papa-san, who wen live wit us foa 11 years starting when he turned 84, loved dese red berries so much. Even when he stay in his late 80’s, he wen hele ova da U-pick place (cuz he pake an no like pay da price foa picked ones)!
Today Nolemana and I wen stop by our favorite fruit stand, Olson Farms, a “Century Farm” (farmed continuously foa 100 years). Da first thing dat wen greet us was dis nani hanging basket in front of da stand.
Den, hea da baskets of da sweetest, most wondaful berries in da world!
Moa berries, everywea we wen look!
Strawberries to die foa!
Unbelievably nani, dese berries!
Strawberries! And moa strawberries!
I neva wen know wat a strawberry should taste like till we wen move to Northwest Oregon. Tonight we wen hull da berries, stuffin’ our mouts wit dem, juice running all ova our chin. Most of dem we wen freeze foa da dark, cold gray months of one Oregon winta, wen da sweet taste going remind us of Oregon spring with blue skies and da fragrance of strawberries filling da air.
Ahh… strawberry season in Damascus. Be still, my heart!