Strawberry Summer

July 24, 2006

It must be long, cold winters that do it. But every summer, the Norwegians go mad for strawberries.

After a month or so of anticipation, and stunningly high prices, from mid-June on they are everywhere, in the supermarkets, in the shops, in the petrol stations, in the market squares, by the side of the road.

Driving along, one regularly sees signs with a huge picture of a strawberry, and a distance. Strawberries! Giant strawberries, 200 metres ahead on the right. And there, in a layby, under an umbrella will be a table, usually manned by a person of apparently "ethnic" extraction—Norway seems to be having similar difficulty with this sort of thing as Britain did a few years ago—who will be happy to sell you a gigantic box of strawberries for 20, or maybe 15 kroner.

And you can take that box home, and eat it with sugar and cream, and then the very next day you can go out and do the very same thing.

There's nothing better, at least for a while.

Like many aspects of Nordic summer, the strawberry summer is short and intense. Last year I remember, by mid August, the stalls had begun to disappear, and the the supermarket shelves were full of oppressive walls of one litre tubs of… strawberry jam.

And absolutely no one was buying them.

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