Almost seventeen years ago my husband and I won a trip to Spain on the Newlywed Game television game show. It was amazing. Meals were included, and every night we'd dine in a fancy room with a personal waiter for each of us, refilling our drinks when we'd so much as take a sip. At the close of each meal, I would get a small bowl of vanilla ice cream, topped with a heap of the best strawberries I'd ever eaten in my life. Until today.
Our street has a multitude of vendors of all kinds which stop by right in front of the entrance to our complex. Pirated DVDs, produce, keys, shoe repair, plants, wicker furniture... Whatever you want or need will eventually appear if you hang out long enough. I have purchased plenty of things from most of the vendors, especially the produce. Lemons out of the back of a van belonging to the guy who picked them from his family orchard that morning go for 1/10th the price of the lemons in the grocery store. I buy local when I can.
The last few weeks I've seen so many vendors hawking strawberries. Unfortunately, it's only when I'm leaving for a few hours instead of when I'm coming back. But not today! I stepped across the street to my local bakery for our daily bread (the lack of preservatives here means tiny loaves that have to be consumed in 48 hours or else it sprouts mold), and I saw the strawberry van. The boys and I picked up a large bowl for about $1.75 USD. Contrast that with the tiny container of sad looking strawberries I saw at the grocery store for about $12 USD. Without the benefit of our local vendors, we'd have missed strawberry season completely this year!
Scrubbed and rinsed and lightly chilled, every last strawberry was consumed within the hour. And maybe my memory of those delicious berries in Spain is fading, but I have to say the Shanghai strawberries were perfectly ripe and juicy, with just the right amount of sweetness. Spectacular.
I do hope the van is there again tomorrow.