Yerena Farm out in Watsonville had their first pick of the season on display last week at The Heart of the City Farmer's Market in San Francisco, and expect a good season.

First pick of the season berries from Yerena Farm in Watsonville

Thanks to the warm and relatively dry spring, strawberries are slowly starting to make their appearance in farmer’s markets around the Bay Area. California produces over 80% of the nation’s strawberries, and we can’t wait to get our hands on them.

Our friends Karen and Bob at Lucero Organic Farm in Lodi say the berries they planted in December are just around the corner from being ready. Karen predicts in a week they’ll be at farmer’s market in Berkeley, with the high season hitting in May.

Lucero grows Seascape strawberries, a small and flavorful breed, which like most strawberries grown in California was developed by the UC Davis Strawberry Breeding Program. The farm lets the plants “struggle,” which means the plants have to search hard in the soil for nutrients. This gives the berries a lot of really good flavor with a distinct sweetness. As the season progresses, the plants “struggle” more, and their berries get smaller and sweeter. Karen loves to crush them up and put them in milk, like a strawberry milkshake without all the sugar.

Look for strawberries at Oliveto menu in the coming weeks — once Chef Jonah finds the perfect flat of ripe berries, you can bet they’ll be appearing on the menu.