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On the farm

on the farm-strawberriesBY: SHANNON MILLER

When was the last time you picked a basket of strawberries?  Did you read that question carefully?  I said “picked,” not “picked up.” Actually PICKED the berries – right from the plants – yourself!

Does the thought take you a long way back on memory lane, to times with Grandpa and Grandma in their great big 4-door car, with the huge trunk which, of course, had to be full of berry flats before anyone was leaving the berry farm?   Or does it conjure up more recent memories of a trip to a Pick-Your-Own (PYO) patch not that long ago, perhaps with your own family in tow?

There is nothing that signals the start of summer quite like the readiness of juicy, sweet, ruby-red strawberries.

Without a trip to the patch though, you’re really only experiencing part of the enjoyment offered by Strawberry Season in Ontario.
“Why bother to pick my own berries?” You ask.  Well, here are just a few reasons;

It’s a chance to get out and enjoy nature.  Head on out for some time alone with your thoughts, OR bring the whole family and make some great memories together.  Either way, on a breezy, early summer day, the berry patch is a wonderful place to be.

And speaking of family, it’s a great opportunity to let everybody see first-hand where their food comes from.  

You’ll save money!  Those baskets of berries at the farm stand don’t just wander on up there by themselves.  There is a cost to the producer to put them there.  When you choose to Pick-Your-Own, the savings are yours for the taking.   The difference can be substantial – up to 40% less for PYO compared with pre-picked.

The final reason – It just feels great to know you’ve picked them yourself.   You really can’t put a price on the satisfaction of seeing a return for your labour – even though it may not have even seemed like work at all!

So you’ve done like Grandma and Grandpa and filled your trunk or maybe just a few baskets.  What next?  Besides the obvious option of eating nothing but strawberries for breakfast, lunch and dinner until they have disappeared, there’s always the freezing alternative.

Freezing your strawberries is ridiculously simple.  All you need to do after  the berries are hulled and rinsed, is lay them out on a cookie sheet, left whole or sliced, set them into the freezer until frozen, and then transfer to freezer bags or containers.  That’s it!  Then you’ll have a ready supply for smoothies, parfaits, pies, jams, muffins, and anything else you can think of that could use a taste of summer added in.

Watch for delicious, local strawberries to be ready around the middle of June.   The season typically only lasts for 3 to 4 weeks, so be sure to enjoy the bounty while it is available.

For recipes, berry information, and to find a farm near you, visit ontarioberries.com.

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On the farm

on the farm-strawberriesBY: SHANNON MILLER

When was the last time you picked a basket of strawberries?  Did you read that question carefully?  I said “picked,” not “picked up.” Actually PICKED the berries – right from the plants – yourself!

Does the thought take you a long way back on memory lane, to times with Grandpa and Grandma in their great big 4-door car, with the huge trunk which, of course, had to be full of berry flats before anyone was leaving the berry farm?   Or does it conjure up more recent memories of a trip to a Pick-Your-Own (PYO) patch not that long ago, perhaps with your own family in tow?

There is nothing that signals the start of summer quite like the readiness of juicy, sweet, ruby-red strawberries.

Without a trip to the patch though, you’re really only experiencing part of the enjoyment offered by Strawberry Season in Ontario.
“Why bother to pick my own berries?” You ask.  Well, here are just a few reasons;

It’s a chance to get out and enjoy nature.  Head on out for some time alone with your thoughts, OR bring the whole family and make some great memories together.  Either way, on a breezy, early summer day, the berry patch is a wonderful place to be.

And speaking of family, it’s a great opportunity to let everybody see first-hand where their food comes from.  

You’ll save money!  Those baskets of berries at the farm stand don’t just wander on up there by themselves.  There is a cost to the producer to put them there.  When you choose to Pick-Your-Own, the savings are yours for the taking.   The difference can be substantial – up to 40% less for PYO compared with pre-picked.

The final reason – It just feels great to know you’ve picked them yourself.   You really can’t put a price on the satisfaction of seeing a return for your labour – even though it may not have even seemed like work at all!

So you’ve done like Grandma and Grandpa and filled your trunk or maybe just a few baskets.  What next?  Besides the obvious option of eating nothing but strawberries for breakfast, lunch and dinner until they have disappeared, there’s always the freezing alternative.

Freezing your strawberries is ridiculously simple.  All you need to do after  the berries are hulled and rinsed, is lay them out on a cookie sheet, left whole or sliced, set them into the freezer until frozen, and then transfer to freezer bags or containers.  That’s it!  Then you’ll have a ready supply for smoothies, parfaits, pies, jams, muffins, and anything else you can think of that could use a taste of summer added in.

Watch for delicious, local strawberries to be ready around the middle of June.   The season typically only lasts for 3 to 4 weeks, so be sure to enjoy the bounty while it is available.

For recipes, berry information, and to find a farm near you, visit ontarioberries.com.

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