Friday, June 15, 2012

Picking Strawberries

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I am a city girl: a townie, through and through.  I have never lived in the country, never worked on a farm, never even had a garden.  The smell of manure in the air still turns my stomach.  Get the picture? 


BUT- I absolutely LOVE farms. I know that to move to one and begin living an agrarian life would be a terribly rude awakening for me, and would be such a dramatic and steep learning curve that I doubt I could hack it.  But I love visiting farms, seeing other people’s backyard gardens, and enjoying fresh, local produce from our hard-working Ontario growers.  So I may be a city girl but I know that, as a descendent of a long line of farmers(my dad grew up working his grandfather's farm), there is a country girl down in my heart somewhere dying to get out and dig in the dirt.

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And my inner country girl had her wish come true today as I headed out to Herrle’s Family Farm in St. Agatha, ON (only fifteen minute drive from my very urban dwelling) to pick strawberries with my good friend Kristin from The Seasonal Family and our darling kiddos. 

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This was my first time going to a U-Pick farm.  When I got into local eating last year I so wanted to get out there and get dirty, enjoying nature, the satisfaction of having some hand in acquiring my own food, and of course saving lots of money. But little bird had just turned one, and I knew she wasnt going to be up for sitting in a strawberry patch for an hour in the sun, so we skipped it.

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But this year I was raring to go and today, on the first day Herrle’s allowed picking, we drove over.  The day was GORGEOUS- sunny, warm but mild and not at all muggy.  My little bird had no idea what she was in for, even though she kept repeating “aww-baawy” every time i said the name of the fruit, but when we got there she just about lost her precious little mind. 

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I could see through the look in her eyes she was thinking, “wait… I get to run around outside, dig in the dirt, AND pick and eat all the strawberries my little mouth can funnel into my gullet?” A toddlers dream come true!

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It didnt take anytime at all to fill up two nice big buckets of delicious, juicy, perfectly sun-ripened strawberries.  I think we were there a little over an hour.  The kids had a great time eating and playing, and Kristin and I got to chew the fat over long rows of the summer’s finest.

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Picking your own berries is not only a fabulous family activity, a great way to get out of town and enjoy God’s creation with your kiddos, but its also a fabulous way to save money. 

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Do you see this big bucket of strawberries I have here?  I paid less than 20 dollars for TWO of them.  Pints of strawberries are going for 5.00 at the market, and while Im not sure exactly how many pints of strawberries are in these two containers, I guarantee you that its a lot more than four!  I would say you probably save 2/3 of the cost picking your own.  This is a great way to get farm-fresh Ontario (or wherever you call home) strawberries without paying the high price you can fork out at the stores or farmer’s markets.  While I realize you can buy strawberries at the grocery store for cheaper than this, keep in mind those are not locally-grown strawberries, but ones grown and picked thousands of miles away.  I find they are usually pretty tasteless and as we like to support our local farmers when possible, we wait until summer here in Ontario to enjoy strawberries.

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I encourage you to google search “pick your own” and your area, and I am sure you’ll find a list of family farms that offer this option.  If you live in the greater Kitchener- Waterloo area, I highly recommend Hurrles (and that is not a paid recommendation, just a friendly shout out!).

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I cant wait to get some of these strawberries in the freezer, some on our plates for dinner and dessert, and some in my first batch of jam this season.  Ill be sure to make some traditional strawberry jam as well as some of my sugar-free jam.

Poultry Tribune 1944-07_08

What about you, ladies?  Getting ready for canning season?  Do you ever pick your own fruit in the summer or fall?  Do tell, I just love hearing your stories!

Thanks for stopping by today and hope you are enjoying strawberry season as much as we are!

Proud to be linking up with Life as Mom for Frugal Fridays, Cheerios and Lattes for Saturday Show and Tell and Linky Love Saturdays with The Accidental Housewife as well as  Frugal Tuesday Tip at Getting Ahead, Teach Me Tuesdays at Growing Home, and Rednesday at Sue Loves Cherries, Share Your Cup Thursdays at Jann Olson's.


theoldmilkcan said...

I used to love going strawberry picking when I was a kid - now we don't live near any of the type of farms you go and get things yourself...unless you are looking for a carcass! we do have lots of hanging baskets of strawberries though so when they start rippening I lift the kids up and they steal them like naughty little sparrows! lol

The Old-Fashioned Housewife said...

Oh my goodness gracious that made me laugh- a carcass! Pick your own! haha... and thats great you have strawberry hanging basket. i am envious... I dont dare grow anything in fear it would die. :/ Thanks!

Enchanted Moments said...

sure do love picking berries, we go each Summer and I make jam for the year...I grow strawberries but not enough to make jam, just to snack on while we are down the back.. :)

Crystal @ Serving Joyfully said...

I thought this post was going to be about growing your own strawberries :) We have a strawberry patch and my boys LOVE it! Unfortunately no pick-your-own places near us, as I live in a very small rural area and the nearest one is 55 miles away...

Andrea said...

It depends on where you live. PYO berries are $2.09 to $2.99 per pound where I live. Not much of a savings over the grocery store, though still a savings overthe farmers market.

Nothing compares to the experience for kids though, or to the taste of locally-grown berries!

The Old-Fashioned Housewife said...

Crystal- Oh how I wish we could have our own little strawberry patch, that would be awesome! And talk about saving money! But picking our own is the best we can do. :)

Andrea- you make a good point that you can buy strawberries at the grocery store for cheaper, but they are usually from somewhere in south america or at the very least southern California (I live in Ontario, canada), and they are often pretty tasteless. We try to eat local berries whenever we can to support the local farmers and enjoy them in season, and picking your own is definitely way cheaper than buying pre-picked local ones at the market. And you are right- nothing is more fun! :)

Anne @ Quick and Easy Cheap and Healthy said... has international listings of pick your own farms. It's not as cheap for us here to pick them as opposed to buying them at the grocery store, but it's definitely cheaper than buying them at the farmers' market! So I would say for comparable quality, it's a good deal. We picked 20 lbs a couple weeks ago - YUM!

Gail @ Faithfulness Farm said...

Such wonderful photos! I have very wonderful memories from when my kiddos were little and we went U-picking. Not many of those kinds of places here on the Nebraska prairie -- I grow my own little strawberry patch and am looking forward to grand being a little older and being able to *help* me pick :)


Diann said...

It looks like everyone had a fun time picking strawberries. They look so yummy. Fun vintage graphics in this post! Visiting from Rednesday.

Mackenzie said...

You sure were brave taking your little ones in white shirts! haha :) I have to put my little guys in red or everything becomes red. haha! Thanks for sharing this great post on Saturday Show & Tell @ Cheerios and Lattes last week! :) Hope to see you again this weekend! :)

The Old-Fashioned Housewife said...

Its funny you mention that, Mackenzie, because I was kicking myself after we went that I let her wear such a cute outfit. BUT- thankfully, a little sunlight soap bar and the clothes were just fine. :)

The Farmer's Daughter said...

Love this post!

Jann Olson said...

Oh Nicole, little bird is in strawberry heaven. Can't say as I blame her. Picking your own fruit can be so fun. I use to pick cherries, strawberries, and raspberries as a teen for money. I didn't enjoy the raspberrries. Although they are my favorite fruit they just took to darn long to pick. I laughed at you telling about being a city girl. I grew up in a small town. Being the youngest of 8 and my father passing away when I was 9 monghs old, the farm days were gone. I always wished that I had grown up on a farm. Not sure I'd love the smell of manur either. Thanks for sharing this fun post with Share Your Cup.