While small towns across the south are well known for their commitment to local culinary traditions, few could match the fervor of Ponchatoula, Louisiana. Situated a scenic forty-five minute drive from New Orleans, this farming community is full of devotees to everyone's favorite ruby red treat: the strawberry.
The town's love of this springtime fruit can only be compared to the kind of adoration usually reserved for sports stars and pop icons: elaborate fountains spout pink water in front of the local history museum, the street signs are all emblazoned with a strawberry motif, and Louisiana has official given the designation of "Strawberry Capital of the World" to this sleepy hamlet.
The strawberry undeniably reigns as king.
For over forty years, Ponchatoula has hosted the annual Strawberry Festival: a weekend designed to spotlight their favorite crop in as many delicious ways as possible. For three days in April, festival goers have the opportunity to enjoy a plethora of strawberry sweets, enter baking contests, and try their hand at strawberry eating contests.
(Next year, I might really mix things up and enter the running for Strawberry Festival Queen, who knows.)
For snapshots from this year's celebration of the berry, crack open a pint of this praise-worthy fruit and click through to the slideshow.