Friday, May 17, 2013


Strawberries are my family's favorite berry--the only one all four of us love.  I use frozen strawberries all year round in smoothies and shakes (and my daughter eats them from a bowl when she gets the chance), so when I realized that strawberries need to be organic, I suffered over the price--as much as $5 for a small bag that would make 2 smoothies.  Last year I bought lots of fresh strawberries from the farmers market and we enjoyed them until the short season was over.  I also planted three strawberry plants in my front flower bed (our backyard is very shaded, and our HOA is very anti-front yard gardens, so my front flower bed harbors a few tomato plants and lots of herbs, as well).  Once the heat hit and the short berry season was over, we were back to expensive organic berries from Whole Foods.

This year I am getting more proactive.  Our strawberry plants have matured and now produce enough berries for a nice daily snack.  That's great for the kid (not naming any names)that runs outside and picks them first, but not for the other three strawberry lovers in our family. Yesterday morning we drove out to Lone Oak Farms in Grantville, Georgia and spent the morning picking strawberries.  We came home with about 25 pounds of strawberries and some color in our cheeks.  The strawberries were $2.50 per pound--a bargain when you consider that they go for about $7 per pound at the farmers market and conventional strawberries are about $5 at the supermarket (A quart of strawberries weighs a bit over a pound).  True, I had to spend gas driving out there (I went with a friend who split the cost with me) and it was hot, tiring work.  However, it was still a very enjoyable morning that ended with a picnic on the bank of the farm's pond and happy time spent with my kids and my friend (and her kids).  My friend actually did even better than me, picking almost twice as many berries as I did, but the truth is, I let my kids off easy and she did not.
 When I got home, I cleaned and hulled the berries--this was almost as exhausting as the picking.  There were some that got a bit bruised on the ride home, so I put those in a separate bowl which my daughter, the fruit bat, kept emptying for me.  The few bruised ones that were left I used to make these berry and coconut popsicles from Coconut Mama.  Big hit today after lunch.
The rest of the berries I put on cookie sheets and placed in my freezer over night.  This morning I transferred them to ziplock bags.  Now my freezer is full of local organic frozen strawberries for $2.50/lb (plus a little sweat equity).  Sweet!

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