I’ll never forget the best strawberries I’ve ever eaten. It was 1997; I was in Munich, Germany, strolling on the outskirts of the Viktualienmarkt (a farm market in the center of the old town), when I walked past a vendor selling strawberries that smelled so intoxicating that I couldn’t do anything else but stop. The berries lived up to their fragrant aroma; they were perfectly sweet and juicy, with just a hint of tang. What was so amazing about these strawberries was how they absolutely melted in my mouth. Typically, with supermarket strawberries, firmness indicates ripeness; a strawberry that falls apart while eating is too far on the wrong side of rotten.
Which brings me to Sugartown Strawberries, a small farm that’s about a mile south of Paoli Pike, on Sugartown road in Malvern. Perhaps best known as a purveyor of pick your own (PYO) strawberries (which was unavailable last year and isn’t available yet this year), SS offers fresh produce at a small farm stand Spring through Fall, including strawberries, of course, as well as asparagus, squash, eggplant, peppers, sweet corn and tomatoes.
Strawberries aren’t ripe in this area for very long (mid-May to mid-June), but right now (late May 2011), the Sugartown strawberries ($5 a pint) are in great form. Just like those unforgettable Munich strawberries, they melt as you eat them and have a wonderfully sweet juiciness that you simply can’t get with the California strawberries in the supermarket this time of year. They are certainly worth a quick detour from Paoli Pike, King Street or even Rt. 30 if you are passing through the Malvern area. Asparagus is also in season (though I haven’t been lucky enough to get any yet) for $3/bunch.
Sugartown Strawberries also hosts a series of Farmtable Chef’s Dinners. The meal, which is prepared by J. Scott Catering, features seasonally inspired, locally sourced ingredients and is served at an open air dining site (with candlelight & bonfire) which provides breathtaking, romantic views of a Chester County Century Farm. The 2011 dates are June 12th, September 18th, and October 2nd. $95 per person / BYOB. To reserve, call 610.647.0711.
640 Sugartown Road (about a mile south of Paoli Pike)
http://www.sugartownstrawberries.com | Facebook
Hours vary, but there are typically strawberries on the farmstand to purchase whenever you go.