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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Strawberries

Even though I recently wrote about strawberries, I feel like I just had to write again!  Being friends with many people on facebook has given me the opportunity to learn about new places in the area.  My friends know that I am a "foodie" and enjoy all kinds of food.  Today, I visited Iranian and Russian grocery stores.  Anyway, one of my friends was telling me about a farm about 15 miles from my house that has strawberries, squash, cabbage, and other kinds of produce for sale.  I went to their website and discovered that they were having a Strawberry Festival!! Only 15 miles away?  How could I NOT go to a strawberry festival.  This was their first festival and it was limited to only children picking the fresh berries (even children at heart like me)..  They have ordered many many more plants for next year's crop and wanted the kids to have the opportunity to pick their own berries.  After all, not many children grow up on farms where they pick their own produce.  I enjoyed watching the little ones find the reddest "bestest" berry on the plant!  They were so cute.  

I knew I could not pick any berries, but were there any for sale?  Off to visit the store attached to the farm.  Upon entering, the aroma of strawberry hit my senses and brought forth favorite childhood memories.  I inquired if they had berries for sale, and the answer was: "Yes!! we have some in the refrigerated area.".  I thought for a second  and told her I would take a quart.  She brought out the quart as per my request, I took one look at it, grinned,  and said that I would finish those walking to my car! No, a quart was certainly not enough for me.  I needed a gallon of berries!  Yes, a gallon was reasonable for this strawberry lover.  They were beautiful and were almost as delicious as the berries my "Papa Jimmy" grew at our house (what made those from my childhood the best was that they were grown by my papa!!).   

I took the berries outside, sat them on the picnic table and listened to the bluegrass music that they had hired for the festivities.  I sat and looked at those berries with anticipation of getting them home, cleaned, and used in desserts or yogart.  I couldn't wait!! I thought for a moment and remembered the bottled water that I had in my backpack. Yes, that would work wonderfully for cleaning a few berries.  I chatted with the owners of the farm who were very hospitable and welcomed me to come pick berries at a later date.  Arriving home, having eaten my quart of berries en route, I started sorting the rest.  I decided to freeze some of them for "emergency" use!  Out of the entire batch of berries, I think I only had a few that had "bruised" spots. 


It's amazing how one remembers how good a home grown berry tastes as compared to those purchased in the grocery store.  Granted, they aren't bad, but that ray of sunshine hitting the berry a little longer, gives it that sweetness that gets lost en route by truck.  I will return to pick the berries soon.  I don't mind picking blueberries, blackberries, or strawberries.... picking peaches I will leave to someone else (itchy, itchy).  I wonder where I can pick some blackberries and blueberries in the next few weeks.  

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Ingredients I must have in my kitchen (It's a long list, but I try and have these items on hand)

  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Cheese
  • Cumin
  • Curry
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Fresh Bread
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Greek Oregano
  • Kalamata Olives
  • Lemon ( At least 3 or 4 ALWAYS)
  • Peppers (Wax, Jalapeno, banana)
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Regular Olive Oil
  • Rice
  • Salad Ingredients
  • Sea Salt
  • Spanish Olives
  • White Balsamic Vinegar
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