We bought two of pints of strawberries this week: one pint of Camarosas (the pint on the left side of the photo), which are a Southern Californian variety that you see a lot in farmer’s markets around here. And one pint of Chandlers (on the right), another local variety, which you see less often. In my experience, Chandlers have more complexity, more background flavor offsetting a sweetness that is never quite as sugary as the more popular Camarosas. While we’re a bit early in the season for that swoon-inducing sugary unctuousness of perfect strawberries, these were definitely worth buying: they had good flavor, nice texture, and tasted like a strawberry should. And I figured we were ready for a little gastrokid taste test.
5 year old Violet was the taster and she said she preferred the Camarosa. Why: “Because they have more flavor.”
What kind of flavor, I asked, bitter, sour, salty, sweet? “Sweet,” she answered.
I tried them both myself. Indeed, the Camarosas were more like candy. The Chandlers had an acidic backbone and more character, but yes, the Camarosas were sweeter. Such is the power of sugar. Such is the local market dominance of the Camarosa.
I’m curious: what other regional varieties should gastromoms and dads and kids be looking for if they find themselves in other parties of the US (or the world, for that matter) this spring? If you’ve got a favorite strawberry variety, farmstand, or farmer’s market, let us know where and when to go, and what to buy.