Wilson Farm in Lexington has been around since 1884. Executive chef Raymond Ost has been on board for eight months. “Is that OK?” asks Ost, laughing. But Ost has been in the Boston-area food scene for quite some time. He worked at Le Meridien Boston for 12 years, and two more when it became Langham Hotel before opening Sandrine’s Bistro in Harvard Square, which closed in the spring after 18 years of serving Alsatian and other regional French cuisines.
Ost hopes to bring “a little bit of Alsace and a lot of French” to the farm’s prepared foods. Right now, however, he’s cooking with freshly harvested produce. “I just got some strawberries from New Hampshire — from the Wilson Farm in Litchfield. They were picked from the field yesterday,” says Ost, who will use them in a baby spinach salad with fresh goat cheese or feta, and a strawberry glaze. “For home cooking,” he says, “most of the people think about desserts with strawberries, you know?”
Not that the chef doesn’t appreciate a good strawberry dessert. “We are going to do a strawberry jam with rhubarb, we are also going to do a strawberry soup,” says Ost.
For an easy, make-at-home dessert, the Alsatian-born chef favors a version of an Escoffier dish, strawberries Romanoff, “vanilla ice cream with a lot of fresh strawberries, some Grand Marnier and whipped cream, and strawberry coulis on top, with something for decoration, like fresh mint leaves.”
Ost also has tips for keeping berries fresh at home. “Store them at the bottom of the fridge, not the top, the bottom is the coldest, and then if they are not too ripe they will stay a week, and if they are (very ripe) they last two or three days.” He recommends that they be stored in a covered container so they don’t dry out.
Of course, Ost believes strawberries should be eaten right in the garden. At Wilson’s, he is as close to one as he can get. Wilson Farm, 10 Pleasant St., Lexington, 781-862-3900, www.wilsonfarm.com