On Saturday, while Jeff was at our market booth, Bracken and I went strawberry picking with friends. We had planned on going to Groundwork Organics, the only organic u-pick strawberries I know of. Though I had been to their farmer’s market booth regularly over the years, I had never been to their farm. I was told to call ahead of time, to make sure the field was open because sometimes the strawberries would get picked out. I called that morning and didn’t get an answer, so we decided to just head over. When we arrived, we were told the field was closed. But we had two little boys very excited to go strawberry picking.
I had picked at the farm across the street, Thistledown Farm, years before. So we headed over to check it out. They had no-spray strawberries available for u-pick, so we lucked out. We also got to see lots of frogs, fish, and even a brightly colored dragonfly in their pond before we headed over to the strawberry field.
(There was a sign asking people to only walk on the pathways, to not walk on the grass. Bracken asked me about it later that day, wondering why people weren’t supposed to walk on the grass. He figured grass, after all, was for walking on, right? So he decided that the sign was really funny. And then he announced that he was coming up with his own funny signs. He came up with “Don’t walk on the strawberries,” “Don’t walk on the people,” and later: “Don’t walk on the cows.” He was cracking himself up and Jeff and I thought it was hilarious.)
On the ride over, both of the boys had exclaimed that they were going to eat all the strawberries in the whole field. And they did their best to do so, as I reminded Bracken to take it easy so he wouldn’t get a stomach ache. (Later he did end up getting a stomach ache and said to me: “Mom, why did I eat so many strawberries?” I answered: “I don’t know.” And then he said “My stomach really needed a lot of strawberries.” Ha!)
They filled their tummies (the farmer invited us to do so, or rather to eat some), put berries in their buckets, put some in our buckets, put some in each other’s buckets. They brought me flowers and played with ladybugs. It was hot out that day and when we had finished picking, we sat in the shade of some trees to eat lunch. A great strawberry day all around.
On another note, though still related to berries: awhile ago I went to the grocery store and was excited to see a bag of organic mixed berries on sale, since we didn’t have any left in our freezer. When we were home I opened up the bag to make a smoothie, and what I saw were a whole bunch of very unripe berries. Some of the strawberries were green on one side, many of the blackberries were pink, as well as the blueberries. Unappealing compared to all the peak-of-ripeness berries we’re used to, to say the least. I couldn’t have known that they were such without opening the bag and lesson learned: didn’t purchase any again. (Did I write about this recently? I feel like I mentioned it already, but maybe I was just telling some friends.) Even though I want to preserve more and more food each year, that really made me determined to freeze more of our own berries this year at least. We get better berries and we save money. So I froze the strawberries we brought home that day to use for future smoothies and popsicles. It’s a start!