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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sweet Summer Strawberries!

Charlotte proudly holds up her
 tiny berry for me to see!

Helping Daddy pick some berries.

Last weekend, Bill and I took the kiddos strawberry picking at Fulton Farms in Troy, Ohio. The u-pick strawberries were several weeks early this year, because we had such a warm spring. The vines were loaded with sweet, ripe berries and we filled two gallon-sized buckets in record time! There were plenty of blossoms and green berries as well--signaling a couple more weeks of berry season left. It's not too late to go pick some berries, but I would try to get there within the next few days. Fulton Farms has a Facebook page that you can check for updates on their u-pick availability. Right now they also have peas that you can pick, in the fields right next to the strawberries.

The vines are LOADED this year!
Fulton's does not spray their strawberry plants with any pesticides once the blossoms are on the plants, so while the berries themselves are not certified organic, they are not chemically treated. Buckets of berries run $8 apiece ($2/quart if you are comparing to grocery store prices) and they'll sell you a bucket for $1 if you don't bring your own. I would recommend going at 8:00 AM, when the u-pick fields open, to avoid the heat.

Working hard or hardly
working? Ha ha!

Taking your kids is an adventure for sure! Mine did okay for about 15 minutes and then whined and complained so much that my husband, Bill, sat with them in the van while I finished picking the second bucket. It seems like Bill and the kids sit in the van a lot! Ha ha! I imagine older children would be great helpers. I'm still waiting for that day to come. 

I put her in a dress that already
had stains on it. Good thinking!
This was Charlotte's first year to come along and Jackson's third year of picking. Both kids thoroughly enjoy being the "strawberry testers" more than the "bucket-fillers" and I would strongly recommend old clothes (or red ones--to hide the stains!). Every year that we go and pick berries I'm teaching my kids about farming, hard work, eating healthy and where our food really comes from. We're making memories to last a lifetime (or at least that's what I tell myself!).

Our Favorite Uses For Strawberries
Eating them as is
Strawberry shortcake with real whipped cream
Fruit leather
Strawberry jam--Recipe coming tomorrow!
Freezing them to use all year long, for these and other yummy treats!

"This one is PERFECT, Mom!"
Does your family have a favorite strawberry recipe? I would love for you to share it in the comments section below!

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