For me strawberry season is that magical time between the fresh energy of spring & the lazy warmth of summer. It’s my happy place.
When else would I actually pay to perform manual labor in a dusty field?
Even that strip of sunburned back (where my t-shirt pulls out of my jeans because of bending for berries) is an acceptable part of the experience.
It’s all because not much else is better than the sweet taste of a strawberry picked in the sunshine.
Strawberries have been my favorite fruit since I was a little kid.
This year I enjoyed a morning in a local u-pick strawberry field with my friend June.
June is a picking expert. For a couple of years, on her little farm, strawberries were her business.
Even though they’re perennial, strawberries have a peak production life. That makes it worthwhile for growers to replace older plants with new ones to increase yields. That’s where June’s business came in. Her farm grew strawberry plants, not for the berries, but for the ‘runners’, or baby strawberry plants. Her customers were the farmers that grew strawberries for the berries.
Unfortunately the busy time for her was early in the cold wet spring. Digging baby plants out of muck in March is a far cry from picking berries in the sunshine of June. Understandably farm helpers weren’t super excited to work in the rain. June put in some pretty long hours harvesting runners. She wasn’t ready to stick to that workload for too many years.
Instead June decided not to sell the strawberry plants in her fields. With the plan of harvesting the berries in the warmth of June, she’d at least mitigate some of the original expenses of the business.
Believe it or not, there aren’t that many folk excited about daily field labor even in the warmer weather.
When big orders from community clubs hosting strawberry tea parties came June’s way, she was often the only one out in the field. She became a pretty fast picker.
I’d have thought that by the time the berry production petered-out & June plowed over the field, she’d be well and truly DONE with strawberries.
Happily she still enjoys the delicious fruit & was as excited as I was to spend a sunny morning picking our fill in a strawberry field at Dan’s Farm.
Next up – raspberries!
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