May 20, 2010
Long before strawberries were on our grocer’s shelves year ’round, long before they were flash dried and inserted into boxes of our favorite breakfast cereal, and certainly long before U.S. strawberry farmers produced 2.1 billion pounds of the fruit every year, the 17th century writer William Butler said, “Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God never did.”
I think he had a point.
The strawberry is a small wonder in the world of fruit. Its sweetly sublime yet slightly tart taste, its immediately recognizable scent and its unique packaging — small and compact with an ever so slight crunch (what other fruit holds its seeds on the outside?) all add up to a fruit so delectable and desirable that it has inspired poetry and art and countless festivals around the world.
The strawberry experience is seemingly limitless — jams and jellies, ice creams and sorbets, cakes and tarts and all manner of shampoos and soaps. The list goes on. It is now the most widely produced small fruit in the country.
Strawberries have been popular since the time of the Romans, where they were found growing wild in woodland forests. Once discovered, they began to be cultivated, and eventually, varieties were found in various locales throughout the world. The modern strawberry was bred from a North American and a South American variety. And over the centuries, strawberries have come to symbolize love, witchcraft, infidelity, purity, peace, prosperity and countless other human conditions.
In recent years, news of strawberries’ health benefits has branded them as a super food. They’re low in calories — a cup of strawberries will cost you only about 50 — are packed with vitamins and minerals, and are high in fiber and rich in cancer-preventing antioxidants and various phytochemicals.
There are purists who will tell you that the best berries can be found at the local farmers markets, fresh and in season. No doubt there’s great truth to this, but honestly, I will also take my strawberries off-season and shipped from far and wide. (Thanks in part go to California growers, who produce $1.8 billion of the fruit every year and account for 80% of the strawberries consumed by Americans.)
Every spring I imagine millions of shortcakes being prepared around the country by home cooks excited by the prospect of a fresh harvest. My favorite way to eat strawberries is simply — with a bit of sugar and fresh whipped cream. In recent years, strawberries served with sweetened balsamic vinegar and pepper became popular –although I’ve found this to be an acquired taste.
For something a bit more savory, I prepare seared scallops over a mound of strawberry mango salsa.
Whichever way you indulge your craving for strawberries, enjoy them this season as you take part in the centuries-long springtime celebration of the strawberry.
Seared Scallops with Strawberry Mango Salsa
(By Kathy Washa)
For the salsa:
10-12 large strawberries, hulled and diced
1 mango, seeded and diced
½ red onion, diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 jalapeno pepper, small dice (use more or less, depending on your taste for spice)
juice of 1 lime
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
salt and pepper, to taste
Gently toss all ingredients until just combined.
For the Scallops:
Salt and pepper scallops on both sides. Add 2 tablespoons canola oil to sauté pan and set heat to high. When oil is hot, add scallops and sear, being careful not to turn until well browned — the scallops will fall apart if you turn them too early.
Mustangs forward Jordan Robarge (19) takes a shot while Andrew Arias (10) closes in.
(Photos by Tracy Back)
By DAVE WITZEL
Falls Church Times Staff
May 20, 2010
With a 7 to 2 victory over Manassas Park on Tuesday the Mustang Boys soccer team completed a perfect 10-0-0 season in Bull Run District play. The Mustangs also defeated Rappahannock County 4 to nil on Monday in a rescheduled game.
The Mustangs are the top seed in the Bull Run District Tournament and will play the winner of Madison County/Strasburg at George Mason on Monday at 8 p.m. Read more
By GINA CACECI
Falls Church Times Staff
May 20, 2010
Perhaps you’ve spotted some artists around Falls Church who are using the glorious spring weather to paint “Scenes in the City” for the first annual Plein Air Festival sponsored by Falls Church Arts.
Until May 28, artists are invited to paint outdoors on canvas, paper or any other material and submit their best work for judging. Plein Air Day is Saturday, May 29 and will feature an outdoor exhibition from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on City Hall grounds. From June 1 – 11, the “Scenes in the City” exhibit will hang indoors at City Hall.
The Plein Air Festival is open to all artists, and a $250 cash prize will be awarded to the first-place winner. Artists paint on materials that have been “stamped” by Falls Church Arts. Each “supports stamp” is $5 and is the price of entry to the Plein Air Festival.
Paint supports can be stamped until May 28 at Stifel & Capra, 260 West Broad Street, during regular business hours Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Stamps also can be purchased at the Falls Church Arts tent at the Farmers’ Market from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 22.
Artists can enter up to two of their stamped works for judging and for exhibition from 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday, May 29 outside of City Hall (corner of Little Falls Street and Park Avenue). An award ceremony will be held at 3 p.m. that day.
For a lot more details and an entry form, see www.FallsChurchArts.org
Hannah Gann National Merit Scholar
Outstanding Employees Honored
GMHS Pathway Brick Sale
Education Foundation Raises over $600 at Quinn’s Auction
BIE Partner is David Levri
Traffic Calming Project Input
Free Leaf Mulch
Bike to Work Friday
May is Watershed Awareness Month
May 20, 2010
The City of Falls Church Village Preservation and Improvement Society held its spring membership meeting Sunday, May 16. Board members presented on the Society’s community efforts in the past year and an expert panel presented on Habitat Restoration, Backyard Habitat certification (www.nwf.org/In-Your-Backyard.aspx), and participation in the Arlington Regional Master Naturalist Program (www.armn.org).
During the meeting, VPIS provided updates on its popular community outreach programs.
This summer, the organization will again sponsor free summer concerts in Cherry Hill Park for the 18th year, extending this year’s events to eight. The concert schedule is shown here.
The Society will also continue sponsoring the 4th of July readings of the Declaration of Independence and other historical documents important to the foundation of the United States.
VPIS recently organized the 118th consecutive Falls Church Arbor Day celebration. In addition, the VPIS board contributed significant funding for the renovations of Frady Park toward establishment of Arbor Day Commons memorial celebrating Falls Church as the first municipality in Virginia to celebrate Arbor Day and for landscaping at George Mason High School. Donations from VPIS for these projects amount to over fifteen thousand dollars.
The Neighborhood Tree Program continues with two plantings this past spring and two more scheduled for the fall. The NTP has planted over 500 trees since its start, and the program has been expanded beyond street trees to plantings in front yards.
VPIS funds all of these programs through membership fees, the annual Attic Treasures Sale (with record sales this year), and Farmer’s Market beverage sales.
Established in 1885, the City of Falls Church Village Preservation and Improvement Society board is comprised of concerned citizens to preserve our natural and built environment, historic structures and landmarks, and to promote cultural activities. More information about VPIS can be found on its website www.vpis.org.