Monday, June 27, 2011

Pick-Your-Own Strawberries, 2011 Edition

If you've been following my blog since you last year, you know I enjoy picking my own fruit in the summer. Last year I told you about my trips to pick-your-own farms for raspberries, blueberries, and apples. Today I've got pictures from my weekend strawberry picking adventure - all 17 minutes of it!

The plan was simple: drive 45 minutes to Andrews' Scenic Acres in Halton Hills, which is 52 km (32 miles) from home. I've been to this farm before, and the last stretch of the drive is really pleasant on a winding, hilly country road. The less fun part is on Highway 401, a major thoroughfare through the Greater Toronto Area that is always densely populated with vehicles, even on the weekend. Hence the need to spend 45 minutes to drive 52 km.

What I hadn't expected was construction, or more specifically, construction that closed one stretch of the highway overnight but which did not end at 9 am as planned. Four lanes of traffic were merged into one and directed to a detour route through suburbia. Total driving time: two and a half hours. This left 17 minutes to get to the fields, pick as quickly as possible, grab another pre-picked basket on the way out, wait in line to pay, and navigate the crowded parking lot on the way out to make it back to town in time for an appointment I couldn't cancel.

But the berries... they were so lovely! I couldn't hold a grudge against the universe for making my one car trip of the week a total nightmare. Take a look at this photo and remember that all it takes to grow such a beauty is for one of those tiny seeds to germinate in healthy soil and create a plant when exposed to sunlight and water. That's it. Nature is incredible, no? Makes it easy to forget about silly drivers and silly construction and my inability to cycle all the way to the farm!

That's as far as we got in 17 minutes. I'll be visiting family in Montreal over the long weekend and may be able to squeeze in another farm trip then to make up for my minuscule harvest. Meanwhile, this first batch went to good use with cream scones (thanks Marc):

Trust me, there was actually a scone underneath all of that whipped cream, as well as slices of strawberry and a lovely strawberry coulis. What's your favourite application of farm-fresh strawberries? Do you pick your own?


  1. Best application by volume: Washed and consumed raw.

    Best application by taste: Angel food cake, strawberrries, whipped cream. LOTS of whipped cream.

    Best application by memory: my grandmother's port-infused strawberries with sugar and whipped cream. LOTS of whipped cream (and a dash of "My are you so skinny eat more!")

  2. Raw is best, I must admit. But after a while that gets boring, so the angel food cake version gets two thumbs up from me. As for port-infused strawberries... well... that sounds like pure decadence and something I need to try!

  3. Yuuummm! I like to eat them raw, or in a smoothie :)

    Wow, port-infused strawberries sounds AMAZING

  4. Yes, strawberries are great in smoothies! That's why I freeze so many. Speaking of freezing, I also eat them raw and sliced up on top of vanilla ice cream. Mmm...

  5. Nothing like fresh strawberries! Your scone looks delicious. You are inspiring me to go berry picking this weekend! There are lots of blueberries in our area.

  6. That's what I wanted to hear! I love inspiring others to go out and pick their own fruit. Are blueberries really already in season down where you live, Lori? I'm jealous!

  7. So that is why your pic is strawberry!! :)

    This is a timely reminder that I need to find myself some strawberry fields! I have visions of picking and preserving and jamming and freezing.

    Strawberry fields forever...

  8. My parents took us cherry picking when we were kids. That was always fun -- we almost got sick on beautifully dark, sweet bing cherries every time. I've never gone strawberry picking, but the scent of ripe summer strawberries is one of my all time favorite smells. Have you tried them marinated in a little balsamic vinegar and sugar? It sounds gross, but they really make the sweet and tart flavors of the strawberry pop.

  9. Sherry - I like to change my profile picture every few months to reflect what's in season, whether edible or not!

    You know, it's funny, I'm not a big fan of jam. I kind of enjoy making it, but I don't really eat it. Still, it's a great option for strawberries.

  10. Jennifer - Mmm, the balsamic vinegar and sugar marinade sounds a lot like the port and sugar marinade Marc mentioned above! Okay, going to try both of those recipes for sure this weekend when I go back for more. Thanks for the tip!