The Best Strawberries Tampa Bay Has to Offer
Looking for the best strawberries that Tampa Bay has to offer? You have come to the right person. As all the locals know, Plant City strawberries are the best– bar none. The Plant City strawberry is large, juicy, and sweet. They are so amazing that every year people from all over the state visit Plant City for the Florida Strawberry Festival– just for the berries. Being a local, I had taken this yearly custom for granted because we celebrate the harvest each year. I was so accustomed to it that I had an egads moment when I realized I had overlooked the festival. So, partly out of guilt and partly out of being conservative with my gas– I decided to simply write an article about the festival and not attend. (I am in Seminole now and we all know that it’s the end of the earth.)
I was driving down Ulmerton road (locals know it as “Aaaaahhhhhh”) and low and behold I saw it. The 10 x 10 foot tent set up by the side of the road and it was full of Plant City Strawberries! Of course, I did a four-lane cross over, complete with the customary angry horn blowing from tourists and I stopped to grab some berries. The moment I jumped out of the car I could smell the heavenly scent of fresh strawberries wafting over to my car. The second thing I noticed was the incredibly warm smile of the man peddling the berries. The price per half-flat? $6.50. That is a small price to pay for a taste of heaven and a full-flat? $10.50. The smell of a flat is worth $1,000 on its own.
Come to find out, the man selling all the amazing Plant City strawberries is BJ Robinson of Indian Rocks Fresh Market. He had set up his pop-up tent at Ulmerton to move the plethora of berries; I was glad he did. With southern manners that would make his mama proud, he told me all about the berries and even picked the best half-flat for me to take home. He even had a rack of Ruskin Tomatoes, but that is another article. A mere $9 later I climbed back into my car with a sample of everything that is right with the world and could not help but savor the strawberries on the car ride home. For those of you that do not know what a Plant City strawberry is take a gander at the photo and imagine the flavor of that bad boy. Plant City strawberries are not one bite berries, but one berry per person. They are juicy so you may need a napkin and they hold up well to being dipped in chocolate or smeared with sweet cream cheese. They do not keep long, partly because they are so juicy that they bruise easily and partly because they are so good they just get eaten. No one knows why the Plant City berries are so fabulous, some think it is the sandy soil, some think the sun and some say it is the weather. All I know is I eat them without even washing them, because I can not wait for the whipped cream or cream cheese. And, so what if there is a little sand on the strawberry; it is there to remind us that from dust we were made and dust we shall return. In the meantime, enjoy all that God has provided– especially the Plant City berries.