Inescapable in and around Portland, Oregon, Burgerville prides itself on fresh, local, sustainable fast food, an industry anomaly if ever there was one. In addition to its permanent menu, the Pacific Northwest chain rolls out special fare throughout the year to make use of seasonal produce. While this practice is most prominently utilized in Burgerville's sides, such as onion rings made from Walla Walla Sweets that are only available in the summer, the chain also offers limited-time-only milkshakes featuring whatever fruit is at the peak of its quality. And when summer kicks off, that means fresh strawberry shakes.
Made with strawberries from Liepold Farms in nearby Boring (yes, there's a town called Boring, Oregon) and ice cream from Sunshine Dairy, the seasonal strawberry shake at Burgerville is nothing if not creamy. Previous years' shakes boasted considerably larger chunks of strawberry, often causing straws to become plugged with fruit. Burgerville seems to have taken the complaints to heart, and the strawberry pieces in this year's shakes are noticeably smaller; I drained my 16-ounce plastic cup to the very bottom with zero straw blockage. Strangely, the flipside to this further breaking down of the fruit appears to be a shake with a less prominent strawberry presence.
In place of the strawberry-forward profile is a blend of sweet ice cream and a mild dairy tang. For all the real fruit in the shake, it still doesn't quite taste "real." It's as if the strawberries were augmented by some kind of fruit-flavored powder, like what you'd see used in a Starbucks smoothie. Without an ingredient list available there's no way to confirm that, although it could just be the heavy sweetness of the ice cream creating the effect.
Don't mistake this beverage for a healthy treat: the regular size carries 820 calories and 34 grams of fat. Fresh strawberries or not, it's a seriously rich milkshake first and foremost, and it's pretty hard to stop drinking it once you've started.
About the author: Adam Lindsley is a Pacific Northwest-based writer, musician, and the author of the pizza blog, This Is Pizza. You can follow him at @ThisIsPizza on Twitter. Astonishingly, he really enjoys burgers, pizza, beer, and doughnuts.