Thirty miles up the road, the city of Santa Maria is known for its strawberries. But Rosa’s are the best. She brings them from her fields in Lompoc and Santa Maria and sells them at her roadside stand in Solvang.
My son swears she grows them with sugar water. The centers are so sweet, so juicy, the berries so large. I buy half a flat at a time, six little green baskets filled to overflowing. The stand is less than two miles from our house, but two baskets are empty before we pull into the driveway.
When I was growing up, one of the grocery stores in Southern California had this overly cheery woman singing this really goofy jingle: “Summer, summer fruits, it wouldn’t be summer without ’em!” I hated it as a child because it would get stuck in my head for days. Obviously, it’s still there. I haven’t tortured my children with it. Yet.
But when I saw the strawberry stand, when my car filled with that heavenly aroma as my children devoured the berries…It’s the first delicious hint of summer. Are you ready?