I was intrigued to see a story in the LA Times on wild strawberries which had a picture of the little berries that are just like ones that seem to be growing everywhere on our property. I pull them up like weeds, because they literally are a weed here.

They’re alpine strawberries — I called them yellow alpines, but the Times says they are white strawberries — that originally came from a gorgeous mixed planter someone gave me years ago. It had one alpine strawberry plant in it, a pretty little thing that produced lots of  small, fragrant sweet berries, most of which ended up eaten by birds or falling of the stems. Their peak, when they taste sweet and smell heavenly, lasts about a minute, as the Times story points out, and after that they become overripe and mushy. Picking them at their peak is a constant job that I’ve never really pursued with any vigour. When I see a few perfect specimens, I will pick and eat them right then and there and then forget about them. Maybe I should rethink my strategy.

The berries do not reproduce by runners, as standard strawberries do. Each berry is covered with tiny seeds and each seed can turn into a plant. Many did and I began to spread them out into their own little bed. The birds helped, too, as more and more strawberry plants began popping up in the strangest places all over our property.

Now they are everywhere and I have been pulling them out with great abandon. Maybe I shouldn’t be so hasty, if the Times story is right. These strawberries, because of their delicacy and flavour, are attracting the attention of chefs and other foodies, the paper says. The problem is that they are the devil to keep picking. So my dreams of a swell alpine strawberry business can have only one response: Dream on!

It’s just another example of the old saying: A weed is just a plant where you don’t want it. Go figure!