A couple years ago we went blueberry picking with the kids. Ninja Boy was just three, My Princess was one, and Miss Tickles was still cooking. My Princess ate her weight in blueberries, ripe or green! We joke that they have to weigh the kids before picking so they can charge us for the ones they ate. After that outing, we talked and planned for going again the next year. Sadly, we missed picking altogether last year because the season started so early and ended quickly because of the weather.
We are determined to make it happen this year. We keep watch on the Blueberry farm’s facebook page to see when the blueberries become ripe and picking season can begin.
Meanwhile, while we wait for blueberries, we discovered that a strawberry farm is only an hour and fifteen minutes away from where we live.
We loaded up the kids and took the trip up to Boz’s Berry Farm. The kids each got their own basket to put their picked berries in (though the berries didn’t stay in them very long before being taste-tested).
As we headed out to the field, it started to sprinkle. A little rain wasn’t going to deter us from our mission. We decided that it would surely pass over us quickly.
Before leaving to pick strawberries, Ninja Boy was complaining that he didn’t want to go because he doesn’t like strawberries. I convinced him that it didn’t matter. He could at least help us pick them.
He LOVED it! There is something about picking fruit fresh off the plant that makes it taste that much better! He had never had strawberries this fresh. No pesticides, no ripening agents. Just fresh, juicy, fully ripe strawberries.
We heard stories from the workers about tiny frogs eating the bugs and hungry turtles chomping on berries in the middle of the field. We kept our eyes open and spotted one of the tiny frogs. They help eat the bugs that hang out around the plants.
Suddenly, the rain picked up and pelted us with huge drops! My Princess started getting cold, so we headed up to the shack to get our strawberries weighed. The kids stood waiting for Grandma, who wasn’t letting the rain bother her. With so many berries left to be picked she just started singing in the rain and kept on picking.
Since they were so fresh, they needed to be eaten or processed quickly, so mom prepped them to freeze.
Remove the leaf caps and any bruised spots. Separate out the berries that are too ripe and use them soon, because they won’t freeze well.
After rinsing and taking off the caps, let the berries dry a bit on paper towels.
Lay a sheet of waxed paper on a cookie sheet and place the berries pointed side up on the paper, not letting the berries touch each other. Place in freezer. After the berries are frozen solid, quickly place them in freezer bags. By freezing them solid before putting into bags, the berries stay separated and you can pull out a few at a time as needed.
Frozen strawberries are great in smoothies or cooked to make a strawberry syrup.