Have you ever gone to a farm to pick fresh fruit before? I’ve picked pumpkins and apples in October before, but this past weekend, I got the opportunity to pick my favorite fruit of all: strawberries!
A dear friend of mine is getting married in a few months, and she wanted to make homemade jam for her wedding favors, using berries from her favorite farm in Michigan. She enlisted the help of a couple of her friends (including me) to go on a berry picking expedition last weekend, and we happily obliged. We packed up the car with plenty of snacks and drove out to her family’s cottage for a girls’ weekend. We woke up bright and early on Saturday to start The Great Berry-Picking Adventure of 2014.
The farm itself had a small gift shop where you could purchase berries that had already been picked along with a few pre-made treats like homemade fudge and canned jam. As tempting as it was to wander among the aisles and stuff ourselves full of sweets and treats, we were here on a mission and dutifully trekked over to the fields. We grabbed the largest cardboard boxes they offered, each picked a row, got comfy, and started picking.
I couldn’t believe how many berries could be found on each bush, all in different stages of ripeness. The berries were a bit smaller than the kinds you’d find at the grocery store, but they were sweet as can be. It made me want to start growing my own strawberry patch, so my berries would always taste so wonderfully fresh. (I liked to reward myself throughout the day with the occasional strawberry. Every single one that I sampled was incredible.)
Our goal was to have all three of us pick enough strawberries to fill two large boxes for a total of six, specifically for canning purposes. We also picked a few quart-sized containers to with as we wished. After about five hours of working in the sun, we finally finished. Check out our haul!
After a Tetris-like rearrangement at the cottage, we were able to fit the majority of the strawberries in the fridge for the rest of the weekend before packing ’em up in the car for the three-hour car ride home. Let me tell you–a car filled with freshly picked strawberries beats a gas station air freshener any day!
The jam making is currently a work in progress. My friend has about 60 mini jars already made. Don’t they look adorable? If you’re interested in making your own jam, make sure to check out our own homemade jam recipe right here!
I’ve got a couple of quart-sized containers of strawberries left, and I’m still trying to figure out what to make. I don’t think I’ve met a single strawberry recipe I haven’t liked, so the tricky part is choosing which ones I’ll love the most. Luckily, I work for a food website where they’ve got a few quick ‘n’ easy ideas for me to keep in mind, including:
Have you ever gone to a farm to pick your own fruit? What did you do with your haul? Let us know in the comments below!