Strawberry, Harvest Festival, Boothbay Harbor, Maine, Spruce Point Inn

Measuring the season in strawberry time

Some places measure their seasons by fashion. Some by holiday décor in the shops. Here on the midcoast, the seasons move in the shadows of the moon, through harvest festivals, as the people of the dawnland did. Now the Strawberry Moon  is upon us (Monday, June 20) and it’s time to gather at the pick-your-own stands and to stock up on whipped cream.

Strawberry festivals ripen like their namesakes, following the growing season northward, from Berwick (June 25th) to Bar Harbor. Soon it will be time for Maine’s iconic blueberry harvest; but for now the sweet individuality of each berry, warmed by the sun and eaten out of hand is what we celebrate. Strawberry shortcake (with real biscuits), strawberry rhubarb pie and a jar of fresh-made jam (to savor in the dark of winter moons) are the culinary hallmarks of June.

It’s not lost on the local pastry chefs like Joseph Sirard here at Spruce Point Inn that strawberries are the perfect and tasty accent for red, white and blue desserts for the holidays that frame their season: Memorial Day and Fourth of July. Nor is it surprising that one of those “oceanside memories made in Maine” is a morning in the strawberry patch or a communal country supper on long tables set under a tent on the church lawn.

Windjammer Days here in Boothbay (starting June 26), the Maine Lobster Festival in Rockland (Aug 3-7) and Maine Open Lighthouse Day (including ‘our own’ Burnt Island Light, September 10) are all opportunities to remind ourselves of Down East authenticity and the reasons we call this place home. We savor this moonlit season in ‘strawberry time’  – and invite the world to share this patch with us.