1. In one poll I saw on some website, 53 percent of kids aged 7-9 chose strawberries as their favorite fruit. For many years, I was one of the 47 percent who chose wrong.

2. Many people think they have to put sugar on strawberries in order to make them more palatable. Their true problem runs deeper; they have selected the wrong strawberries to begin with. But it takes time and many unpleasant surprises to learn how to know a good strawberry when you see one.

3. When picking wild strawberries, it is important to look in unexpected places. The best strawberries are usually found hiding under a leaf, or otherwise somewhere you wouldn't think to look. The obvious ones have usually been eaten by crows long before you arrived. You have to keep looking.

4. In their original form, before human intervention, strawberries were quite small, no larger than a small marble. My love began that way too. It needed human care and feeding in order to grow.

5. The strawberry we know and love today is not a single species, but actually a hybrid of two wild species - one from Virginia and one from Chile. It's called hybrid vigor; you mingle the products of two distant continents, oceans apart, and get something stronger, and more lovely, greater than what nature originally provided, yet somehow also natural.

6. Although the strawberries we eat today are the same hybrid species, there are many hundreds of cultivars. When you eat them one at a time, you don't notice the difference, but when you try different varieties one after the other, you intensely taste what one lacks and the other supplies. You have to try more than one kind in order to know for sure which one is best.

7. In Japan there is a cultivar from Tochigi prefecture which is the most lovely strawberry I ever tasted. It was the perfect balance between sweet and sassy. The problem is that when you later go back to the kind you usually ate before, it's never quite as good as before you tasted that Japanese strawberry.

8. Strawberries normally only ripen for a few weeks a year. But human desire is strong, and through chemical intervention, we can force them to ripen nearly at will.

9. Strawberries are delicate, requiring gentle handling to prevent bruising. However, through aggressive breeding, we can create a strawberry that is stronger, hardened and resistant to pain. The cost is high however; the once lovely flavor and texture are compromised.

10. Strawberries do not last more than a few days after they are picked. They must be consumed, prepared, or preserved right away. Buying or picking strawberries is serious business. You commit to doing something with them. You can't decide later. You have to decide, right away.

11. When a strawberry gets moldy, it turns pink, then white, and then gray. It withers, and shrinks, and finally collapses in on itself. Even if you cut out the moldy part and try to eat the remainder, it is too late. That strawberry tastes awful. It tastes like regret.

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