With summer almost here, the weather is typically unstable in Portland. But we know good things are coming. My mouth waters at the thought of the fresh produce that will be in the peak of their season at the local farmers market.

There is so much produce to love, it is hard to narrow it down to a few favorites, but strawberries are just starting to appear locally —  and it is certainly a personal favorite of mine.

Strawberries in Oregon are incredibly sweet and are generally on the smaller size. They are the type of strawberries that need nothing but a quick wash and they are ready to enjoy in all of their natural decadence of flavor. Of course, a little cream or coconut milk drizzled over top sliced strawberries doesn’t hurt either!

We will buy a flat of strawberries and enjoy it in a variety of ways. Here are a few mouthwatering ideas from mnn.com, once you get your fill of just enjoying them straight from the berry carton.

1. Balsamic Strawberries: Doubles as a salad and dessert topping. Pair with fresh baby spinach or over two heaping scoops of vanilla ice cream.

2. Strawberry Spinach Salad: Sweet and tangy strawberries merge with the earthy elements of spinach in a mouthwatering combo.

3. Strawberry Smoothie: Strawberries make an amazing addition to smoothies. 

4. Zazu's Strawberry Rhubarb Crostata with Rose Geranium Gelato: Feeling fancy and want to impress? This recipe is for you. 

5. Strawberry Basil Sangria: Unlike many sangrias, this one is designed to showcase the wine, not cover it up.

6. Strawberry Rhubarb Bars: These bars using fresh, seasonal ingredients are a great substitute for processed cereal bars and your kids (and you) will love them.

7. Strawberry Soup: Halfway between a milkshake and dessert, this versatile soup can be slurped through a straw or frozen into fruit pops.

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