Friday is my favorite day of the week. Not because it is the end of the working week, you’re kidding me right? (All Mom’s raise your hand if you know what I'm talking about.) Friday is special because it is my favorite farmers market at Monterey Peninsula College. This is where I first discovered P & K Farms, and their delicious strawberries. As a child, growing up in Britain, strawberries were met with a lot of excitement. They signified summer was here, school was nearly out and Wimbledon was around the corner. However, my delight over strawberries had wained over the years-really I mean decades. Strawberries simply hadn't tasted or even smelt like strawberries, that is, until we transplanted, forgive the pun, to California.
On first discovering P & K Farms, I considered it was by magical selection I’d chosen the right basket. My fairy godmother theory was dispelled however, by purchasing the berries in quantity, not once, not twice but on several occasions. I could not help myself. Can you guess the quantity I was buying!?
Regardless of size and shape, berry for berry, each one was as aromatic, sweet and juicy, as the last. I was astounded at the consistent perfection.
Who are P & K Farms? I wondered, and how are they producing such amazing fruit? I discovered the lineage of P & K Farms originates back to 1898 when Mr Tao's Great Grandfather, first settled in Watsonville, California, from Hiroshima, Japan.
Mr. & Mrs Tao ( featured above) established P & K Farms in 1992. It is a family operation with the Tao children engaged in the business of berries too! They have been rotating their strawberry crop, 8 acres at a time, over 24 acres ever since, and now grow solely organic strawberries and organic blueberries.
The Tao's, are truly dedicated, growing organic strawberry and really care about their product from start to finish. They shared how important it is to tend the plants, particularly after the rain, that soil, weather, water and air quality are all important factors. Not forgetting their Central Coast location, which affords them a season that spans from February to December.
At various farmer markets, you will see a crew of gloved hands, working over the crates of freshly picked fruit, detailing each berry. Insuring every last one is unmarked and dent free. This guarantees their customers a punnet of perfect strawberries, which, if not consumed on day of purchase will last longer than store bought berries. And if all this wasn't enough, P & K Farms, guide patrons with handling and refrigeration tips.
If you are living in or venturing to the California's Central Coast this summer you have GOT to try P & K Farms. See the list of locations below:
Friday; Monterey Peninsular College, 980 Fremont St, Monterey. 10.00 a.m. - 2.00 p.m.
Saturday; Willow Glen Market, 1165 Lincoln Street San Jose. 9.30 a.m. - 1.30 p.m.
Sunday; Los Gatos Downtown, West Main St & Santa Cruz Ave Los Gatos 8 a.m - 1 p.m.
Sunday; Del Monte Shopping Center, 1410 Del Monte Center, Monterey, 8.a.m-12 p.m.
Tuesday; The Barnyard, 3690 The Barnyard, Carmel-By-The-Sea 9.00 a.m. - 1.00 p.m.
Wednesday; Blaney Plaza, Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road and Big Basin Way, Saratoga 2.30 -7.00 p.m
"New Leaf Community Market" 1101 Fair Ave, Santa Cruz & 41st Avenue, Capitola
Need a visual testimony to just how delicious P & K Farms strawberries are, just check out this queue!
And in case you are wondering what happens to those dented or lightly marked berries, don't worry nothing goes to waste or as they say in Japan "Mot-tai-nai"
Wishing You All A Berry Happy Weekend ! Love George