IT HAS BEEN QUITE SOME TIME since we have posted here and we have a good excuse. Amid the pandemic, raging wildfires, heat waves, economic mayhem and political strife, we left (escaped?) the hustle and bustle of downtown Los Angeles for a sleepy suburb in Ventura County.
It seems like only yesterday that we were dealing with midnight street racers revving their illegal vehicles to jet-level decibels. Now we are awakened by coyotes who come into our yard, mostly, we think, to taunt the neighbors’ dogs.
But here we are, adjusting (quite well, I might add). The previous owners of the abode now in our possession did a great job landscaping and planting, so we are settling in just in time to reap the bounty of fruits on their trees. So far, a few figs, and a plentiful supply of strawberries from a tree.
If you are not familiar with Arbutus unedo, the evergreen otherwise known as the strawberry tree, we are only one step ahead of you. We knew nothing about it until we moved here. They grow naturally in a Mediterranean climate and all the way to Ireland. And they seem to do just fine in the California sun.
It is not related to its namesake plant. Its fruit, hidden under a prickly exterior of bright yellow and red, has a taste that seems to blend peach, apple, pear and maybe a bit of some kind of berry.
We’ve tried it straight off the tree and in smoothies, and it’s quite nice. Next up will be to experiment with concocting some kind of preserve with it. But first we have to harvest the crop before our competitors (squirrels, raccoons and probably coyotes).