Monday, June 18, 2007

Summer Strawberries

One of my newly favorite summer traditions is picking strawberries. I had never heard of picking them yourself until I moved to Wisconsin. It seems like this is a favorite tradition of many of my friends and acquaintances! I was able to go 2 years ago with my then-neighbor (and friend) Angela, but last year I was 9 months pregnant, unable and unwilling to go. My good friend Suzy surprised me with fresh-picked strawberries just days before I gave birth to Allison, and so I set about making jam with the precious few that I had.

This year I was able to go by myself. Dan stayed home with the kids and I left shortly after waking. It was warm already at 7:30, and the day promised to get warmer and more humid. It was good to start early. After a short drive and an even shorter tractor ride, I was in the middle of an immense field of ripe and ready-to-be-picked strawberries. It took only about 20 minutes and only about 6 feet of plants to fill my flat and I headed back to pay.

After arriving home and deciding all that I wanted to do with my fresh strawberries, I started to worry that I should have picked more. (I picked over 11 pounds!) But once I prepared 4 batches of jam and made 2 strawberry pies, I decided that the remaining berries were the perfect amount to enjoy for snacking and on cereal for the coming days.

So summer is officially here, with the taste of sweet, juicy, wonderful strawberries. What do you enjoy as a summer tradition?
*picture provided by Ernest von Rosen,


Gretchen said...

NETT! Terrific idea, I'm so glad you posted on this!

There is a berry farm just over the river in Indiana, and I have been meaning to check it out "when summer comes" and now it's here, but I'd forgotten! That's the PERFECT thing to do when I get off work one day this week . . .

Summer tradition? Bake pies. Cherry and apple for sure. Also my birthday, and I always celebrate it with kids (who are the only ones who really appreciate birthdays as they ought to be appreciated). This year my birthday will be during Camp OUTT (heh,heh, like it was an accident or something), and I plan to indulge in a day of shameless self-birthday promotion. The year of my golden birthday when I turned 26, I wore a crown all day. Kids expect that sort of thing, and it makes it fun for them, too. I try to be the ultimate birthday girl by bringing funness to all and not being a "birthday brat" like I was when i was a kid.

Morning Rose said...

We love strawberries too, though I do my picking at the grocery store. :) Sometimes we'll freeze them (and other fruit like grapes and blueberries) and eat them frozen. They taste like popsicles then.

Some summer traditions include watching baseball games, celebrating birthdays and anniversaries, going to weddings, seeing the July 4th fireworks, visiting amusement parks, and enjoying church softball and/or tennis.

Sarah said...

My favorite summer tradition is making all things rhubarb. I love rhubarb--my mother-in-law gave me a whole bunch this year, so I just have to figure out what to make with it.
Another summer tradition that I love in our small town is going to the farmer's market and picking up all sorts of fresh veggies, etc. Sadly, I work every Tues. morning now and have to miss it in town, but I hope to make it at least once to the Madison Saturday market. It is so fun!!! Held on the square around the capitol, and full of everything fresh or homemade. It is a good Saturday morning activity (you can even get breakfast or lunch while you walk!) :-)

Linda C said...

Ahh the memories of strawberry picking. I remember being in the field near Marshall by 7:30 a.m. with our second oldest son when he was about 8or 9. We too came home with many pounds to clean and prepare. I mostly froze them.

That son is now 27 and he and his wife are expecting our first grandson! Time flies...

I saw fireflies out tonight flashing in the first day of summer. I love summer.

Donette said...

Gret, what do you think I do with all those strawberries? Bake pies! I love your ideas for celebrating birthdays. I have a fall birthday and I always imagined that a summer one would be way cooler!

MR, the 4th of July is one of our big traditions, too. Can't wait for it to be here!

Sarah, I love rhubarb, too. I have wanted my own patch for years, but haven't gotten around to planting it. So I take advantage of other's generosity. I did the Madison farmer's market once, but felt like I was on a human conveyor belt. The food was good, though!

Linda, I have truly loved summer this year - first in a while that I haven't been pregnant or nursing! It helps that our June temps have been so refreshing. By the way, you are going to make a GREAT Grandma! Lucky kid! Make sure you keep me posted on baby's arrival!

Name: Karen said...

We just picked two weeks ago early in the a.m. but all the kiddos went with. I picked 9 pounds and planned on making jam...however those same kiddos had eaten all of those 9 pounds 3 days later! So how freezer jam this summer!

Our traditions are
1. Camping on Lake Michigan, complete w/sand dunes and beauty
2. Strawberry Picking
3. Blueberry picking
4. Catching Fireflies (we were just doing this the other night!)
5. NO SCHOOL! :)

Fun Post!

Gretchen said...

Want to hear sad news -- I went to pick berries (knowing the strawberries were late, but planning to pick whatever was ripe at the berry farm, and I drove forever to get there, and when we arrived, it began to pour. No joke, AS I OPENED MY DOOR TO GET OUT OF THE CAR, the rain began. We tried to wait it out, but we ran out of time. WAH! Blueberries are MY faves! Hope those work out.