Friday, June 12, 2009

U-pick Strawberries

Strawberries are a crop that I haven't had very good luck with so far. I've been trying to grow these fabulous berries since our first attempt at gardening, seven years ago. That year our garden comprised two 2x2 garden boxes we made out of scrap wood. We planted one tomato, four snap peas, about ten carrots, four strawberry plants and six corn seeds. It was not a stellar garden, we harvested only a handful of peas and carrots, one tomato and one strawberry - no corn. But we were hooked.

Back to strawberries. Each year I get about five tiny (albeit sweet) strawberries and the rest are eaten by the birds and bugs. It got so infuriating that we tilled the 40 ft strawberry bed in last year. The surprise is that this spring we have harvested our best crop of strawberries from plants that apparently survived the tilling. Who knew strawberries were so resilient? Unfortunately, our "best crop" comprises only about five cups of strawberries. The birds and bugs are still eating most of them, but we've eaten a few and loved 'em.

Tasting this year's strawberries has made me crave more and the store-bought California ones are not satisfying. So I did some research and found a greenhouse about five minutes away that sells u-pick strawberries for $2.50/lb. I drove right over and loved picking the berries from hanging baskets. But I only bought 2lbs. They were so tasty and I almost went back to buy a few more lbs when I stumbled across a KSL listing for a U-pick farm in Layton, UT. Day Farms is fabulous! Easy to get to, easy to pick, and very reasonably priced: $1.50/lb or $1/lb if you pick more than 10 lbs. These berries are wonderful. My mother and I took the kids and picked 34lbs! yep, 34.

Needless to say, we've been processing berries for two days - jam, glorious jam. A few of the recipes we've tried are, Strawberry Lemon Marmalade, Strawberry Pineapple freezer Jam, Strawberry Rhubarb Jam, you get the idea. YUM.

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