Sunday, June 9, 2013

For the Love of Berries!

For a few short weeks in June, our lives here on DewKist revolve around the berry - the strawberry, that is. 

This is actually a huge exaggeration when you take a moment to remember the history of our acreage.

In the past, our farm was the original U-Pick strawberry farm in the area. The original owners, a lovely older couple who live on the other side of the creek, grew ten acres of these garnet, bit-sized fruits. For years, they enjoyed families who returned every summer to take advantage of the beautiful strawberry crop - my own family included.

There's so much history here. So many stories were shared. It's an honor to live here for sure.

One of the previous owners of DewKist decided they couldn't keep up with the amount of work necessary to keep this place running, so they plowed under the strawberry fields. I wonder if that lovely couple who started it all felt just as crushed as the strawberry plants did that day. It must've been sad to witness.

In comparison to what the farm used to be, our little personal strawberry patch seems small, but for a family of five, it seems quite large. It consists of four twenty-foot rows, giving a grand total of 80 feet of berry picking. We chose the "Jewel" variety, and they've become our favorite. The plants stay compact, growing up more than out, and the berries are large with high-rise stems that are easy to cut. The fruit is dark red and extremely juicy and sweet. 

Berries, however, don't wait for a convenient time; they ripen whether you're ready or not. That means, we have to pick them on Monday... 


This year, we planted the "Jewel" variety. It's our favorite.


and Thursday...

Of course, our family is eating up all the fresh strawberries we can, and we put them in cereal, ice cream, quick-bread loaves, etc. Pinterest has been quite helpful as well, when it comes to finding recipes. I added strawberries to this banana bread recipe I found on  the Shockingly Delicious website. I gave some away, and the family ate the rest...all except for our youngest, who somehow never claimed his share.

We also gave away strawberries to friends, neighbors, and coworkers. Hubby and I decided that this was our favorite thing to do with our surplus of berries. I mean, what's better than sharing parts of the farm, right? Sometimes we both wish it was still an operating U-Pick farm. It would've been fun to watch families venture out between the rows of plants, while toddlers stain there chubby hands with berry juice. :)

Year after year, however, my husband and I make strawberry freezer jam.  That's what we did this evening. I picked them. He mashed them. We both measured and stirred. I heated the pectin. He stirred it into the berries. I filled the jelly jars. He sealed them up. Nineteen jars later, we were finished for the night.

We'll probably make more jam later in the week, as we typically have thirty jars in our freezer.  Or perhaps we'll find a few people who would like to stop by and pick some berries for themselves (hint, hint).

Now...I think the raspberries are coming next...sigh....


1 comment:

  1. Wow! We would be in berry heaven here!! Gorgeous strawberries. I have only a few strawberry plants growing in a big 4x4 container outside, but they have lots of blossoms on them! I doubt I'll get freezer jam out of them. My kids will eat them off the vine faster than I can get to them. :)


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