This past weekend my wife, Lisa, and I traveled a short distance to Louisburg, Kan., not too far from the Cider Mill, to my friends’ Cindy and Dennis Reynold’s Somerset Ridge Vineyard & Winery. We were attending a mushroom seminar and workshop by Matt Trammell with Slow Food Kansas City.
After learning about planting our own mushroom garden while sipping some delicious Somerset Ridge Hard Cider, we enjoyed some delicious mushrooms from the Fungal Fusion truck run by Trammell on the property, Cindy reminded me that she had fresh strawberries arriving in just a short while.
So while my wife and I enjoyed some more delicious morels, we watched eagerly as Louisburg farmer Sharon Schroeder of Foxfire Farm started setting up a table.
We walked over to the table filled with beautiful ripe freshly picked strawberries, and Sharon asked my wife to take a sample. She took one bite and said, “Oh my God, these are the sweetest strawberries I have ever eaten.”
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Lisa said she had just recently read when you take a bite of a strawberry and it’s red all the way through, you know it’s not a hot house strawberry. This was indeed freshly picked from the strawberry patch just a few blocks up the road.
I was next and took one bite and just knew I had to have everything Sharon had for sale but I did not want to buy her out and leave nothing for the other visitors to the winery that day. She assured me I could have as much as I want because they were picking all afternoon and bringing whatever they needed to sell that day at the winery.
I ended up purchasing 6 quarts of the finest strawberries you have ever tasted. Talk about local. What a great day to be in Louisburg.
On the short ride home, we sampled some more strawberries in the car and I started telling my wife about my father and his famous strawberry dessert that he prepared back in 1972. The dessert became so popular that he took a photo for the Kansas City Star and they called him “The Strawberry King.” I do hope you enjoy the recipe (below).
I later found out that Foxfire Farm is a 75 acre homestead that’s dedicated to using sustainable and organic practices that use healthy methods for growing and harvesting, and Sharon and her husband, Carl, only use certified organic pesticides when needed.
Oh … the strawberries are so sweet and delicious, picked just when they are ripe. The season is winding down so they won’t be available for much longer. First come first serve.
I do hope you enjoy the recipe and also hope you get your sweet local Louisburg strawberries today.
Visitors can pick after 5:30 p.m. weekdays and on weekends. Call 913-449-8236 for berry readiness and you-pick times. The season should last about 2 more weeks. The farm is located at 7195 W. 327th St. in Louisburg.
Jasper’s Strawberry Chantilly
Makes 4 servings
2 cups Italian pastry cream (recipe below)
2 cups fresh sliced strawberries
1 cup whipped cream
2 tablespoons toasted coconut
Divide pastry cream in 4 dessert glasses. Cover with fresh strawberries and top with whipped cream and toasted coconut.
Jasper Mirabile’s Italian Pastry Cream
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups milk
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Mix flour, cornstarch, sugar and salt in a 2-quart pot. Add milk until all mixed together and bring all to a boil. Whisk egg yolks in a bowl.
Take 1/2 cup of hot milk and mix with eggs, then add back to all of milk mixture. Add vanilla and wait until pastry cream thickens, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and pour in bowl.
Top with plastic wrap so a crust does not form. Cool before refrigerating. Refrigerate 2 to 3 hours before using.