An ode to summer’s sweetest fruit

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Strawberry shortcakes prepared by Morning Glory baker Korilee Connelly of Edgartown. — Photo by Marnely Rodriguez-Murra

On a sunny day in Edgartown, Morning Glory Farm hosted its annual Strawberry Festival on the farm’s grounds. As soon as I set foot on the property, the overwhelmingly sweet smell of summer strawberries hit my senses like a ton of bricks, in the most delicious way possible. My mouth instantly watered. My eyes darted from booth to booth taking in the sights. I knew right away it was going to be a good day.

The team at Morning Glory Farm has been organizing this festival for at least the past 12 years, if not more, but no one can really remember exactly. The Strawberry Festival serves as a celebration of the strawberry harvest, a thank-you to Mother Nature for giving the fruit just the right amount of rain and sun, a kickoff to the summer season, and an event not be missed.

Sarah Carter, Morning Glory’s office manager and event coordinator, explained just how much of a celebration it really is, given that sometimes the festival doesn’t happen due to an unfortunate growing season, when inopportune weather complicates the harvest. This year that was not the case.

Once the strawberries are harvested, they are prepared for the festival in various forms. The entire staff of the farm contributes to the festival, from setting up the booths to picking thousands of strawberries.

When it all comes together, Sarah’s favorite scenes are of the families having a great time at the picnic tables; seeing the kids run around petting the farm animals; the children’s faces when they spot the Strawberry Princess; and everyone enjoying the delicious food. Sarah has been working on the farm for the past three years, but coincidentally her family went to school with the Athearns, the owners of the family farm.

On Saturday strawberries overflowed every table, starting with the savory table of burgers and condiments, where you could get a grass-fed burger for just $7. Two steps left I was faced with a dilemma: Did I want a strawberry shortcake, a slice of strawberry pie, a jammy strawberry crumble square, or a cool glass of strawberry lemonade? Decisions, decisions. For the sake of research, I watched the farm’s baker, Korilee Connelly of Edgartown, construct the gorgeous works of art that are her signature strawberry shortcakes.

Morning Glory Farm Strawberry Shortcakes, recipe courtesy Morning Glory Farm, and the Family that Feeds an Island

Makes 12 biscuits

Shortcake biscuits:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp cream of tartar

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp sea salt

3 Tbsp. granulated sugar

5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces

1 cup milk, cold

Filling:

1 pint strawberries, hulled and halved

1 Tbsp. sugar

½ tsp lemon juice

¼ tsp sea salt

8-10 basil leaves, sliced thinly

whipped cream, to serve

Preheat oven to 400°F. Whisk together all the dry ingredients.

Cut the butter into cubes, and using a pastry cutter or hands, cut into dry ingredients. Slowly add the milk and form into a dough.

Turn out to a floured surface and press to ¾-inch height. Cut into rounds and arrange on baking tray. Bake until lightly golden brown, about 12-15 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before using.

For filling: Combine all the filling ingredients, and let sit for an hour.

To serve: Cut the biscuits in half, layer marinated berries on one half in between cream, and top with the other half-biscuit.

If you’re craving more juicy tidbits on how Morning Glory Farm harvests their strawberries, make sure to grab a copy of their latest cookbook, Morning Glory’s Farm Food: Stories from the Fields, Recipes from the Kitchen by Gabrielle Redner, complemented by the beautiful photography of Alison Shaw. In this latest book, you’ll find recipes for summer pasta salad with tomatoes and strawberries, eggy French toast with fresh fruit, cottage cheese pancakes with fresh fruit, spring kale salad, and summer water. The cookbook can be found on amazon.com and at local bookstores.