Make the Most of Summer Berries

Miranda Keyes talks sourcing seasonal produce and how to get the most out of berries this season.

As a food stylist, I have to find fruits, vegetables and other ingredients out of season all year round. Most magazines work months in advance, which leaves me looking for turkeys, and brussel sprouts during the summer and trying to find a cool place to roll out shortbread dough. By the end of the summer, I’ve usually baked and enjoyed more Christmas cookies then I will all Christmas season. What makes my job easy is living in a city like Toronto, where access to ingredients is plentiful. Though, I can always find them and they look great, the flavor is often lacking – which works for a picture, but for eating, not so much.

Since I have to buy a lot of ingredients for work when they are out of season I make a strong commitment to sourcing local ingredients when they are available. In fact, I won’t eat a strawberry unless it’s a local one. Which means, I am patiently waiting for June to roll around to taste my first strawberry all year. You just can’t compare the taste of a local strawberry in June or July to one in the middle of winter that’s being imported from another country. The smell, flavor, texture and juiciness can’t be replicated and the same goes for plenty of other summer fruits and berries.

In order to make the berry season last a little longer I make big batches of jam and even dehydrate fruits when they are in season. That way, when it’s blistering cold outside in February, I can get the taste of an Ontario strawberry on my slice of toast! During the summer, I make sure to make the most of berry season by eating them daily and incorporating them into breakfast bowls, salads at lunch and lots of different types of desserts.

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Party Pavlova

My favourite dessert to make to showcase fresh berries is pavlova. An airy meringue topped with lightly whipped cream and heaps of fresh berries is the perfect way to incorporate your favorite berries into dessert. The fruit can get piled high on meringues just as it is. You can swap different types of fruits and berries on this dessert depending on what’s in season. Freshly sliced plums and peaches are equally as delicious on top of this dessert.


As I currently work on recipes for Thanksgiving and Christmas, I am going to enjoy as many berries as possible until the local season is over, now, where to find cranberries in August?!



Miranda Keyes

Miranda Keyes

Miranda Keyes is a freelance food stylist, recipe developer, tester and writer. Miranda started her career at 15, with her first job ever at Summerhill Market working as a cashier. During university she moved up to the Summerhill Market kitchen, which kick-started her career in food. Miranda briefly worked in public relations before realizing she missed being surrounded by food all day and shifted her career back to cooking. Miranda's passion for all things food has taken her from professional kitchens like the Four Seasons Hotel kitchens in both Whistler B.C. and in London, England to staging at the three Michelin starred Fat Duck. Since trading in her chef whites Miranda launched her own freelance company. Miranda’s insights from cooking professionally now help her imaginatively bring to life food that looks as delicious as it tastes for cookbooks, magazines, television and live demos. Her creations have been featured in publications such as, Chatelaine Magazine, BBC Good Food and the Huffington Post.

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