The Star-Herald

Strawberry champagne soup

It is human nature to resist being wrong.  In fact, just about everyone can identify an acquaintance who will go on the most torturous, twisted and convoluted explanation known to man to explain why s/he is not wrong, despite all evidence to the contrary.  Sometimes it makes your head hurt just trying to follow the logic, but you don’t have the heart to point out the obvious: Nope.  Wrong.

On the other hand, there are times when being wrong is a source of great delight — the prospective son-in law is not nearly as big a jerk as anticipated, the car repair only required a $2 part and a twist of a screwdriver, the check really was in the mail.  So, too, last week’s article, in the lag time between writing and printing, lapsed over into a delightful incidence of “wrongness.”  Regardless of the willingness of Presque Isle Farmers Market patrons to be patient and adventurous, trying rhubarb solo, it turns out to be unnecessary (though delicious) any longer.

Despite the awkwardness of this growing season in terms of getting out of its own darned way, the southern exposures, light sandy soil, and selection of appropriate varieties of strawberries meant to thrive in Aroostook County conjoined to reap magic.  The Goughan’s Berry Farm truck showed up pretty close to their opening day at the PIFM.  As is typical of Mark and Gloria, they did not send along second-rate, token fruit with white, gritty tips and flavorless, rock-hard flesh, a tease until the crop “really” comes in.  The truck arrived at the Aroostook Centre Mall parking lot on Saturday morning loaded with box after overloaded box of large, fully-ripe berries dripping with juice and loaded with flavor.  

Goughan’s sends us their best and our customers respond, walking away with big smiles, in some cases whole flats of fruit, and most likely, by the time they make the drive home, chins stained bright red by temptation.  In honor of the exceptional product, it seems appropriate to offer a recipe that does not dilute “strawberry-ness” with rhubarb (however wonderful the combination may be), but rather showcases all the berries have to offer solo.  Strawberry Champagne Soup offers coolness and sparkle for a sophisticated celebration of an engagement, an anniversary, or the arrival of cherished friends.  

Stop by the Presque Isle Farmers Market between 8:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to visit and participate in a welcome celebration of early summer.  See you there.

Strawberry Champagne Soup

Puree one pint of fresh ripe strawberries by pushing the berries through a sieve to remove seeds and skin.  Thoroughly chill the pureed strawberries.  At serving time, divide the fruit between four champagne glasses.  Fill each glass with thoroughly chilled, freshly opened champagne and garnish with a sprig of mint.  Serve immediately for maximum flavor and sparkle.

The Presque Isle Farmer’s market’s chair/president for the remainder of the season is Deena Albert-Parks of Chops Ahoy farm in Woodland. For information about participating or visiting the market, contact her at deena.albertparks73@gmail.com.

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