Strawberries and Spring

I cannot wait for spring every year.

For me, spring means fresh strawberries, green onion, radishes and new potatoes so small there is no need for slicing.

English: Easter egg radishes, just harvested
English: Easter egg radishes, just harvested (Photo credit: Wikipedia)There there is gardening, picnics and long bike rides on a Sunday afternoon.  All of these remind me of my childhood: growing up on  my grandpa’s farm surrounded by the sounds and smells of tilled earth and growing things.

All our meals were simple farm fares from new potatoes in dill dressing  to hearty stews and soups.  They were made with the produce available outside the kitchen door.

One stormy January, I came to United States and waited anxiously for spring.   It finally came and I rushed to buy my first quart of fresh strawberries.  They were huge. I bit into one and promptly spit it out.  It tasted like a cross between a cucumber and a lettuce.  The same thing happened when I tasted tomatoes for the first time: no taste or fragrance.

Years later, I discovered organic produce and the joy of farmer’s markets as a parent willing to go the extra mile and offer my children what I took for granted as a child: safe, tasty and nutritious produce.

That is the plan.  In practice, this plan involves money, lots of it.  To balance my budget and offer my family the best produce, I introduced a new spring rituals: waiting for the newly released Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen lists.  The produce is tested by USDA and FDA in the form used for eating ( bananas are peeled while apples and pears are not).  Environmental Working Group compiles and releases the lists plus an extra categories including summer squash and leafy greens (collard and kale) contaminated with very toxic chemicals.

For a full list please go to


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