Wouldn’t you love to have a year’s supply of strawberries in your freezer, waiting for smoothies, dehydrated fruit roll-ups, and more? I answered yes to that question. A few weeks ago my friend and I decided on a whim to go strawberry picking. There is nothing like eating fresh juicy strawberries that you have picked yourself. As an added bonus (in light of our many food allergies) everyone in our family can eat them!! Since our trip was on a whim, neither of us really paid attention to the weather forecast. On our way to the farm it started to sprinkle….then downpour. Since we had gone to the effort of getting three kids into the car, packed snacks, collected our picking gear, etc. we hated to give up and drive home. My friend and I sat in “the mini” longingly looking at the strawberry patches only 25 ft. away. If only I had brought my Walt Disney World ponchos for us!! We talked to the farmer and decided that it was only a light rain at that point and we had come so far.
It wasn’t hard to convince the 4 year olds to get in the rain and I covered my daughter’s stroller with a blanket. So glad we decided to go for it since it stopped raining after 15 minutes and the sun came out. It was so much fun! The four olds weren’t much help picking the strawberries. They preferred eating the strawberries they picked and frolicking in the patches. But that is the great thing about picking your own strawberries–most times the owners allow the kids to tank down as many as they want for free (explained later).
My daughter didn’t like to be stuck in the stroller but did like the kids feeding her strawberries. She would whine until someone would come give her a strawberry..and another….and another… Let’s just say I was worried to change her diaper the next time. We finally let her loose and boy did she like the freedom.
After an hour and a half or so we picked twenty pounds of strawberries between the two of us! Our family ate half and froze the rest using the flash freeze method. Aimee on simplebites.net has four simple ways to freeze strawberries.
** Tip: The farmer told us to leave any strawberries that had white on them (not fully ripe) out in a single layer on the counter for a day or so before putting them in the refrigerator or freezer. Once you put them in the fridge they will not ripen anymore (like other produce).
What to Wear:
- Long pants- Yes, even if it is hot. Every year I wear shorts and regret it. The tall grasses around the patches are itchy and the strawberry plants give me a rash. Plus, pants are added protection from bugs and critters.
- Long sleeve shirt- A lightweight long sleeve shirt to wear to protect you from the sun and bugs would be ideal. The pants, in my opinion, are more critical.
- Closed toe shoes or boots
What to Bring:
- A big container to bring the strawberries home
- A small container to use while you are picking (many farms provide these as it is easier to weigh what you have picked) A large yogurt container works. Our friend’s taught us to punch a hole on each side and tie some string to each side. This way you can put around your neck and be hands-free.
- Bug spray
- Snacks and drinks for yourself and your kids. Save room for strawberries. Many places let you eat strawberries while you pick.
Where to find local places to pick your own fruit and vegetables
Get out and start picking!!