With a name like Historic Strawberry Mansion, “naturally, we have strawberries,” said Connie Ragsdale, president of the Fairmount Park landmark. “In the 1880s and 1890s, people would come to pick wild strawberries.”

In fact, “there are still wild strawberries that are growing on the property,” she added, “teeny little strawberries, which are much sweeter.”

Taste for yourself. It’s strawberry time!

“The moisture’s actually been really good for the plants. The harvest looks like it’s going to be amazing,” said Jillian Prout of Prout’s Jollyview Farm in Oley. “The rain makes the berries big, and then the sun makes them sweet and red.”

The color, the flavor, the smell of those juicy, sun-kissed gems ... who can resist?

“There’s nothing like a vine-ripened strawberry right out of the field,” agreed Jean Hannemann, manager at Linvilla Orchards in Media, where strawberries cover four acres. “It’s a primary crop for us.”

You could call June 2 “Strawberry Festival Saturday” with celebrations at Linvilla, Prout’s and Historic Strawberry Mansion. Plus starting tomorrow, the 46th annual Strawberry Festival opens on the grounds of Coatesville’s Brandywine Hospital, attracting 25,000 visitors.

What began as nurses raising scholarship money has “grown exponentially since then,” said Stephanie Vargas, Brandywine Health Foundation’s associate director of development and communication. “Strawberries are actually my favorite fruit. I just love that they’re easy to eat, and they’re sweet and delicious.”

A festival favorite: strawberry shortcake. At home, try a strawberry roll cake, strawberry-flavored honey butter or strawberry lemon crumble bars.

“I love the brightness of the lemon and the deep, rich red colors and the pretty pinks when you mix the strawberries and the lemon,” described Prout, who’s hoping for a repeat of last year’s stellar strawberry season.

“My back was hurting after those four weeks,” she said with a laugh.

Honey ButterIngredients1 pint strawberries, whole

3 tablespoons honey2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1½ sticks unsalted butter, softened

InstructionsIn a food processor, puree the strawberries and transfer into a saucepan. Add the honey and lemon juice and boil while stirring for 3 minutes or until thickened. Let cool to room temperature. In a bowl, cream together butter and strawberry mixture. Let stand in a cool place for 1 hour to let the flavors develop.

RECIPE COURTESY OF HISTORIC STRAWBERRY MANSION

Strawberry Lemon Crumble BarsIngredients

Crust and crumble topping:½ cup butter, melted

½ cup granulated sugar½ cup light brown sugar

1½ cups all-purpose flourFilling:

1 large egg1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice½ cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt, or sour cream

2 tablespoons vanilla extract¼ cup all-purpose flour

Strawberry layer:2 heaping cups diced strawberries

1/3 cup granulated sugar2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons lemon zest2 teaspoons cornstarch

Add flour to thicken if necessary

InstructionsPreheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking oil.

Crumble layer: Melt butter, add sugar and whisk; add flour and salt. Stir until crumbles form. Set ¾ cup of the mix aside. Transfer remaining mixture to prepared pan and pack down mixture to a hard, flat crust.

Filling: In a medium bowl, add egg, yogurt, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla. Whisk to combine until smooth. Add flour and pour filling onto crust; set aside.

Strawberry layer: In a medium bowl, add all ingredients and toss to combine. Add flour until thickened. Spread strawberry mixture onto filling layer. Evenly sprinkle leftover crust onto strawberry layer and bake for 60 to 70 minutes until the edges bubble. Cool for 2 hours.

RECIPE COURTESY OF PROUT’S JOLLYVIEW FARM

Strawberry RollIngredients4 eggs, separated

¾ cup sugar, divided½ teaspoon vanilla

¾ cup cake flour¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder2 cups heavy cream

1 pound strawberriesInstructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Beat egg yolks until thick and lemon-colored. Gradually add ¼ cup sugar and vanilla. In another bowl, beat egg whites until almost stiff. Gradually add remaining ½ cup sugar and continue beating until mixture is very stiff. Fold yolk mixture into egg-white mixture; sift dry ingredients and fold into egg mixture carefully. Bake in a waxed paper-lined 10 ½-by-15-inch pan for 12 minutes. When baked, carefully run knife around sides of pan to loosen. Turn cake onto clean dish towel sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar. Remove waxed paper. Trim crusts. Roll quickly with a fresh sheet of waxed paper on inside of roll. Wrap in sugared towel; cool. Meanwhile, whip heavy cream and sweeten to taste. Slice ¾ of the strawberries, reserving some whole ones for garnish. Unroll cake; remove paper; spread with sweetened whipped cream and top with sliced strawberries. Roll again. Place on serving dish seam-side-down. Frost with remaining whipped cream and garnish with whole strawberries.

RECIPE COURTESY OF EDITH SHEPARD

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