The Farmer's Daughter|
Our blog is written by Jennifer Shea, Dan and Cathy's oldest daughter. Jennifer is part of the 13th generation of Schoonmakers to work on Saunderskill Farm.
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Red Ripe Strawberries
June 6, 2012
It's strawberry time! It's always so refreshing to see the first strawberries of the season. They are the first sweet fruit we are offered at the start of the growing season. The past two years I have shamelessly been buying strawberries in the supermarket all year long, they are my daughters favorite and would eat them every meal if offered. Even though I have always loved homegrown strawberries, I think buying them year round has helped me appreciate how incredible a strawberry is in season. The one's I buy off season are tasteless and white on the inside, our berries are bursting with flavor and are a deep deep red all the way through to the center.
Strawberry plants are perennial meaning they come back every year. Our plants are harvested for 2 years and then replaced with new. This helps keep the plant healthy and producing a lot of berries. The plants are covered in straw in the fall for the winter and then uncovered early spring. David lays straw down the center of the rows which helps keep the weeds down and makes it much more pleasant to pick. Because the berries are harvested in late spring they are in danger of being damaged by cold temperatures and frost. Jack, Dan and Dave make an attempt to save the berries during cold temperatures by irrigating with water from the creek. Farmers irrigate with water to create a barrier of ice on fruit blossoms during freezing temperatures. The heat that releases when water freezes to solid ice is called heat of fusion. As long as enough water is continuously applied to a plant, the heat generated when water freezes can keep the plant at or near 32°F.
If you get a chance it's great fun to pick your own berries, sure it's easy to buy them off the counter, but just try it for the experience. I usually take my daughter out and she plops down on her bottom to eat all the berries surrounding her, most kids tend to pick this way. When I was little when I went to the strawberry field with my Dad I would return home covered in hives from eating to many berries. Either way it's a good way to see where your food grows and where it comes from .
You can get a great deal on a bundle of strawberries by picking your own, there are endless ways to use berries for jams, freezing, smoothies, pies, shortcakes etc. etc. My favorite way to eat them this year has been on a salad--
Mixed greens, sliced berries, toasted pecans, feta cheese and a balsamic vinaigrette.
We should have berries for another week, hopefully longer depending on what the weather does. Be sure to eat your fill while they are here because it will be a whole nother year before we have them again, unless of course you like the white berries found in the supermarket!
* The Strawberry Patch is open Tues-Sun 7am-5pm. Feel free to give us a call to see how the picking is!