Saturday, April 12, 2008


If you were at Alemany this morning, you heard the hams from Rodriguez Farms singing out their strawberry song: two men, three long notes, sustained for a few minutes: Straw-ber-eeee!

In 2008 I swore I’d improve on last year’s cooking strategy by rejecting the impulse toward innovation (in the guise of boredom).

I’d make some particular fruit into jam once, then forgo it for the rest of the season, because I considered myself “done” with whatever ingredient: tayberries, strawberries, green gage plums.

But you know what? In December, when the wind spit frigid rain at every turn, and my cabinet revealed only one half-pint of tayberry jam, I cursed my poor planning.

So again this week it’s strawberry, this time mixed with loquat, a fruit indigenous to China that now grows on the streets of San Francisco. With texture like an apricot, it has a slightly tart flavor.

At the loquat stand, a man in a leather jacket asked us about the fruit. Suddenly loquat experts, Maria compared it to a kumquat ("Well, they both end in -quat.'") We encouraged him to sample one, after which he dropped his pit into my hand, so that I could grow my own.

“Wow,” Maria said. “When’s the last time a grown man spit into your hand?”

Approximately never. But he did tell us the location of a meyer lemon tree in a public park in San Francisco. A win?

Photos courtesy of the fantastically talented Maria