June 14th, 2010 —

For me, the start of summer is when the first strawberries appear at the local farm stands and the Farmer’s Market. Sure, you can purchase strawberries in produce section at the grocery store all year long but the real strawberry taste comes from those lovely berries nestled in the wood berry boxes. Even better is the taste of sun-warmed strawberries right from the plants at a u-pick strawberry patch!

Just a short drive from White Swan Inn, Stu Scholl’s farm in Montague is the place to go for u-pick strawberries. Or head early to the Montague Farmer’s Market on Saturdays for freshly picked local strawberries. Wherever you find them, enjoy the fresh taste. The season is short and is meant to be savored!

At White Swan Inn, strawberries take center stage during their brief season. Served freshly sliced with a dollop of organic yogurt is heavenly. Mixed with other fresh fruits for a colorful presentation. Baked in a tasty muffin or nestled in a stuffed french toast. Balsamic vinegar enhances the strawberry flavor in a fresh spinach salad. Who can resist strawberry shortcake with fresh whipped cream! And, strawberry freezer jam is an easy way to enjoy that summer taste all year long. My mouth is watering as I am writing this blog!

Here’s a recipe that was enjoyed by recent guests at White Swan Inn:

Strawberry Streusel Muffins

2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chopped fresh strawberries
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
1/4 cup milk
1/3 cup butter, melted

Streusel Topping:
1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup almonds, finely chopped
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbs butter, room temperature

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Chop strawberries and set aside. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt in large bowl. In a small bowl, blend egg, yogurt, milk and butter. Stir into dry ingredients; batter will be thick. Gently stir in chopped strawberries. Spoon into greased or paper-lined muffin tins. Sprinkle with topping.

For topping: In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, almonds, cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture comes together in large crumbs.

Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Yield: 12 muffins.