While picking strawberries this year, I’ve noticed some genetic throwbacks. Apparently the gene pool is a little shallow when you let the same plants fester and reproduce for years on end unsupervised with no mitigation. Our family strawberry tree is becoming a straight line with no diversity. This incestuous situation is coming to a head at the Nod ranch.
I know. I hear the guffaws and laughter rising in your collective throats but you have to understand the enormity of the situation. Strawberry Fields is in trouble. Cupcake has put her foot down. I no longer am permitted to bring in berries that look defective. This happened when we got back from Hugfest. I humorously suggested that the deformities were being caused by the Fukushima Nuclear plant meltdown and subsequent release of radiation. That did it. If a berry is not perfect in every respect now, it becomes horse food. While Dude and Wally have no problems with this, the waste is stupendous. Apparently she doesn’t worry about them glowing in the dark down in the barn.
In addition, some of the berries have been “nibbled on” by birds and slugs. They really don’t consume much so the majority of the berry is intact. Since I am the chief cook and strawberry processor, I have, in the past, smuggled these in and surgically repaired them. These, too, are now persona non grata at the dinner table following my ill-advised Fukushima remark. This effectively curtails my available production to about 40% of it’s former amount. Fortunately my dogs have developed a taste for strawberries. They have no problem with glowing in the dark. In fact, if they become exceedingly ripe to the point of getting that weird grey fuzz on them, it doesn’t faze the dogs in the least. Dogs are not judgemental. Dogs have never heard of Fukushima. Grey fuzz is a flavor enhancer. The only problem is that they think it is acceptable to dine on strawberries at any time now. Consequently, they cannot be left outside unsupervised.
Cupcake went so far as to cull the last batch and illustrate what is passable and what is verboten.I had no idea women had such stringent strawberry rules- none whatsoever. When men pick berries, they get out the berry box. Pickin’ the berries, pickin’ the berries. No thought is given to size, abnormal shape or photogenic qualities. For men, the rule is red. It’s very cut and dried. They don’t taste good if they are green. It’s a very simple test. For women, the rules are far more intense and exacting. Not only do they have to be ripe, they have to be genetically perfect e.g. Fukushima-free. They cannot exhibit any evidence of being “partially sampled” nor can they have any of that grey fuzz on them. These rules are inviolate. I’ve caught Cupcake surreptitiously spot-checking my harvest technique when I come in following the misspoken nuclear humor . She’s about as subtle as a hand grenade.
For you men who are still clueless, I have assembled a photo gallery of what is and isn’t permissible. Here, for your strawberry edification, are the rules.
Acceptable berries look like this:
Fukushima berries suffering genetic defects usually look like this:
Due to Cupcake surveillance (which makes NSA spying like childishly amateurish), I can no longer smuggle these babies in and wash the grey fuzz off. These are now classified as dog berries:
Similarly, berries that exhibit any evidence of having been tampered with are not for harvest. I eat them while I’m picking now. If they are more than 50% compromised, I share them with Molly and Shadow. What the hey? There’s still plenty here for everyone in spite of the new rules.
Strawberry knowledge is strawberry power. If you men pretend these standards for consumption are of your own making, you will impress your spouses no end. They’ll think you are civilized and were brought up in a good home. Fortunately, I had a valid excuse. I had servants when I was a child. Nobody told me the strawberry rules.