If you were using 50mm (as a reference) how close do you think you would have to get?
I would think that zoom level would be the most important parameter for you. And I would think that something relatively wide would be ideal. That way you can bring forward what you consider most important/interesting and have the rest in the background. The limitation would be if you have to deal with hot substances that produce steam. Then you may want to stay some distance away.
- Tamron 90mm f2.8 is a great macro lens, but it may be too much zoom for what you want. - Older Nikon 35-70 f/2.8 has manual "macro" mode at 35mm only. It is not a true macro. On the other hand you hay not need true macro, unless you plan to fill the whole frame with one strawberry.
I would consider one of these true macro lenses: - Nikon 60mm f/2.8G ED AF-S Micro - Nikon 40mm f/2.8G DX AF-S Micro Nikkor
If I was doing food photography and wanted macro for that purpose only, I would probably go with 40mm f/2.8G DX AF-S one.
Please, let us know what you decided and post some tasty samples