We went strawberry picking Monday with our boys at a local farm along the Willamette river. Beautiful country down in Creswell OR rolling hills on either side of the river. Nice fertile bottom land, perfect for market farming. Along the way we saw turkey vultures, great blue herons, and other water fowl along the waterways and sloughs. Hansen’s Coast Fork Farm has a great setup for strawberry u-pick. We picked in the no-spray field, they also have an organic field that wasn’t ready for picking.
It has been a cool, drizzly last few weeks after an unseasonably warm and dry spring. The berries were small but good flavored. Lots of misshapen ones that my boys named: mitten, purse, and boxing glove berries. The field is very well cared for with obvious cultivation keeping the ground clear between rows. Lots of prickers and low thistle plants that kept things interesting!
The boys both fussed about getting up (at 9:30!) and to the field before noon. Ciaran said he didn’t like strawberry picking but preferred cherry and blueberry picking. Aodan agreed. We got them in the car, fed them some yogurt and hauled them down to the farm with us. They are the ones who eat the most frozen strawberries during the year so they need to earn their keep.
Ciaran and Mama heading out into the field. Ciaran is trying to look grumpy. They have a nice kiosk set up for check in and check out. All in all a well run, tidy field. While we were picking I chatted briefly with a woman who was working hard filling 2 buckets by herself. She said it was hard work for an old lady like her but that she loved coming to u-pick because she gets to enjoy everyone’s kids. One of the many pleasures of u-pick.
We got the berries home and soaked the dirt off of them (lots of dirt due to the recent rain), hulled them and put 10 quarts in the freezer. We will definitely head out again to get more strawberries as the boys love to make smoothies out of them all year. I make jam and strawberry sauce as well. I think last year we had about 50 quarts.
Mehu-Liisa tip: Remember that you can put frozen berries on top of fresh fruit that you juice later in the year to make wonderful flavor combinations. Apple, peach, and pear go well with berries mixed in. White grapes are also a good base fruit for combination juices.
Take care ’til next time.