I got the email this week that our local U-Pick Orchard was opening up their strawberry patch. After the rainy week, and expected sunny skies on Saturday, I knew that getting there earlier than later would be essential. But, I have another orchard I like to go to, so I had a backup plan just in case.
And Saturday was sunny for sure! Bright sun and blue skies, it's been a while since we saw them. After the kids appointment in the morning we swung through a drive thru to get lunch (sometimes, you do what you have to do) and I called the automated picking line to make sure the patches hadn't been cleaned out before we got there. Still open, so off we went.
Finding a parking spot was hard, but not impossible. We queued up to get our baskets and off to the rows. They had people directing us to rows, reminding us to stay in them, mark where you stop with the little flag, and gave us a white bucket for any squashed or spoiled berries along the way.
After about ten minutes the niblets began to lose interest, but I moved them through filling their baskets as I worked on mine. Lots of people were out in the field, including row jumpers who didn't seem to remember what the rules were. I wanted to remind them, I also wanted to beat them with my flag marker, but I figured that would not set a good example for the kids.
Baskets filled, we checked out and moved the strawberries to the car. A good haul, over 14 lbs. worth. Then I let the children wander off to the playground, including the goats and ducks kept in a bordering pen. With children all over and food dispensers, the goats know they have it good.
Today we had rain and I have begun the process of washing, hulling and freezing the berries. I did a lot of jam last year, more than I planned with the ice storm and subsequent defrost of all my summer berries. I am sure I will do a little more, but I wanted to do some fresh stuff also.
This week has brought a lot of turmoil inside. Everyone has those days; I guess this week I was getting my fair share, plus a couple more. When times are hard, it is pretty easy to get restless and just need to do something. Something to move, something to soothe my soul - gardening in the rain doesn't hold real appeal, so I turn to baking. I had bananas stored in the freezer already and thought some banana bread would be good, and dug up my standard recipe (from Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook, spiralbound), but hit the muffin recipe first. So, I threw together a batch of those, and decided to turn it up a notch with strawberries. Then they went into the bread.
Then I decided to throw together one more batch of muffins, but had used up all the bananas. But I sure have enough strawberries! Throw in a little lemon juice and zest, and I have enough to freeze for another week also.
It doesn't answer my questions or make the Path and smoother, but at least I have some snacks for along the way.