I got an email over the weekend indicating that our favorite farm was going to be open for U-Pick strawberries beginning Monday June 4. The email also suggested that because of the unusually early warm temperatures (followed of course by hard frosts) they were only expecting about half the usual strawberry harvest. (I believe the phrase the email used was that they planned on “closing early and closing often.”) Since Mondays tend to be a good get-things-done day for us, I figured I’d take the girls right when it opened and see what we could find before things got too picked over. I also figured it would be a happy distraction from being insanely pregnant.
We didn’t end up going on the 4th, but we did make it out to the farm today. Thankfully, any fears of the patch being picked clean were unfounded: there were plenty of ripe berries just waiting for little fingers to find them.
As we drove out to the farm, Bryan and I realized that this is actually the fifth time we’ve picked June strawberries here. That’s starting to sound dangerously close to being an honest-to-goodness tradition at this point: crazy! It’s hard to believe that the first time we came here, Robyn was significantly younger than Katie (she was only 16 months old) and we had to teach her what to pick. So many springs later and no one needed any teaching: everyone knew just what to look for.
|Robyn was our expert strawberry finder. She seemed to hone right in on where there would be nice big clumps of berries waiting.|
|You can almost hear Katie saying, "Oh!! Baby berry!!" (Accompanied, of course, by a semi-shrill shriek of joy. :)|
|Amber showing off her latest fistful of strawberries.|
Not only that, they were all really good hard workers. Even though we got there early, it was already 80 degrees before we even started which made for a hot and sticky harvest. On the upside, the entire field smelled like cooked jam, which the girls admitted was pretty nice.
|My favorite little migrant workers.|
It's good they were such pleasant little workers, because we had big plans for all those berries. Since the price had gone up a fair amount since last spring (darn that late frost! :) we only picked about half as many as last year. It ended up being just right though: we were still able to make up a couple batches of freezer jam, enjoy some strawberry popsicles, and slather our French toast in strawberries for dinner time.
Besides going picking together and making jam, we apparently have another berry tradition around here: babies. Of the five times we've picked at this farm, three times we had less-than-one-month-old babies in tow. I wonder if someday just the sight of strawberries will make me baby hungry?
|You can't really see him, but Baby is snuggled up in there. (A friend of mine lent me her Moby Wrap a while ago so I could use it as a pattern for my own little wrap. I'm so glad! How did we ever have three babies without one of these??!)|
|There...now you can see him. Definitely the pick of the patch. :D|
Speaking of berry traditions, we rounded out the morning with one of our other farm-day favorites: ice cream!
|No ice cream for this little guy. Better luck next year!|
We've had such a great time with Bryan home from work this past week, with today's strawberries being one of the big highlights. It will be really hard to send him out the door again tomorrow morning. Sigh. I guess it's back to the real world after that. But at least it will be a real world that now includes a freezer full of strawberry jam. (Oh, and a really cute little baby boy too. :)