Arrow-right Camera

Color Scheme

Subscribe now

Pick some summer sweetness

Fresh sheet Lorie Hutson

Is it true that there are people out there who have only tasted the strawberries shipped here from California and elsewhere? Those who have never savored the intense flavor of a berry ripe from the garden?

If you are one of those people, drop this food section right now and drive to Green Bluff. Stop at the first sign you see offering strawberries and taste one. (OK. Pay for it first.) You’ll forget everything you know about supermarket berries in one luscious instant.

The recent cool weather has slowed the ripening of some strawberries, says Karen Knapp but it still should be fair picking at Knapp’s for this weekend’s Strawberry Festival at Green Bluff farms.

At Siemers’ Farm, Sunday was the first day of picking. Even with the cool weather, the berries are coming in a little early this year, says Byron Siemers. “This should be one of the best seasons we’ve had in years.”

Siemers has a couple tips for making the fragile crop last a little longer, even though they are best picked and eaten or used on the same day. Leave the hulls on when picking. Be sure to keep them cool on the way home. Sprinkle a little sugar on the berries if you want to keep them for an extended period of time. “They’ll never keep as long as a California berry, but they will never taste like one either,” he says.

The Strawberry Festival at Green Bluff will be held this weekend and next. For a map of the farms, go to Maps also are available at each of the farms.

You can also find fresh-picked strawberries at area farmers’ markets if you’re among the first to arrive. See the Farmers’ Market calendar inside this section for locations and times.

Rosengarten raves

Cookbook author and food guru David Rosengarten is raving about Inland Northwest pancakes.

In the latest issue of his newsletter, “The Rosengarten Report,” he ranked Heidi’s Premium Pancake mixes from Coeur d’Alene among the 25 best products he’s ever tasted. Rosengarten first mentioned the pancakes in his newsletter in 2004 and talked about them during a “Today Show” appearance, but he ranked another mix from Oregon as best of the bunch. This time the top slot belongs to Heidi Acuff and Heidi’s Fat Free Cottage Cheese Premium Pancake Mix.

Rosengarten wrote: “I fell head-over-heels in love with this Idaho product and its truly miraculous texture … soft and warm and tender and puffy and irresistibly sexy.” He also mentioned Heidi’s Grainy Day and Sourdough mixes. You can find the mixes in some local stores and online at

Pend d’Oreille Winery is 10

Owners Steve and Julie Meyer are celebrating the winery’s 10th anniversary this weekend with music, tours and new releases.

The Pend d’Oreille Winery in Sandpoint also will release its 2003 syrah and chardonnay and celebrate some recent recognition. The winery won eight medals at the Northwest Wine Summit, the region’s largest wine competition, including a gold medal for its 2003 chardonnay. Wine Enthusiast magazine rated its 2001 cabernet sauvignon and 2002 merlot, both from Columbia Valley fruit, 87 and 88 points respectively. Last month, Wine Press Northwest recognized the winery’s 2002 syrah.

The winery, 229 Cedar St., will be open noon to 7 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.