This morning, we were eating some really fine Illinois heirloom strawberries (that would be "jewels"). It got me thinking first, of the fine and rare Ponchatoula strawberries I enjoyed once upon a time when I lived down there. Well, that got me thinking then, of regional produce.
Where's the best produce. I do not know if a Pontchatoula strawberry is better than an Illinois strawberry; is it just a matter of which comes first? Yet, there is also the problem of variety.
Around me, all our spring products are coming in full just about now, but they're here: asparagus (actually about done), peas, favas, rhubarb and the above mentioned strawberries. By summer's end, we will have all of the hot weather things including gorgeous Michigan peaches, millions of varieties of tomatoes, eggplants, even various hot peppers. About the only "southern" things we won't have are peanuts. Grapes, we can swap our concords for their muscadines. But we get cherries and blueberries in full abundance. What's the swap for that?
So, is Michigan the best place for produce in the country? I thought Washington or Oregon are equal contenders, especially when you factor in some of those pricey pears. California obviously produces the most stuff, and I have no doubt that the "best" produce is their the most often, but is not so much of California produce just mass-produced dreck?
OK, a few final thoughts before opening it up to the floor. I know that New Jersey tomatos are widely praised, so is the garden state the real thing? Finally, the greatest source for ultra-premium Charlie Trotter approved veggies comes from a farm on the shores of Lake Eire, so Ohio?