A day or so following, a friend called and asked if I wanted to go pick strawberries. She was surprised to learn that I had never been. Blueberries, yes, I said. But somehow, I had missed the preschool trip to the strawberry patch. That all changed Thursday.
Skip the shower, dress to get stained and carry big buckets! We took to the field.
Spring in central Virginia has brought some wonderful rains and cool evenings, which are fine for enjoying the beauty of Spring, but not perfect for the launch of the strawberry season. Not enough warmth to bring out the abundance of berries one anticipating the season might expect.
"I've never worked harder to pick strawberries," my friend confessed.
Me, what did I know. I took in a gorgeous sunny morning and the experience of pulling fruit at least twice as big as the blueberries I'm used to picking every year. I learned from my friend that the tiny ones carry the most sweetness. She wasn't kidding!
About two hours later, she and I both felt a bit like ripened berries, sagging from the weight of our sun-kissed juiciness. We called it a morning!
Some seven pounds of berries now called for a new home. Several, actually.
[This looks a lot like my blueberry picture from last July. "Dancing in meadows of strawberry jam...." Ah, Jamberry!]
My friend's advice to "Just eat them" has served us well, and the girls' bus drivers and teachers, and some other friends who have received small tubs and bags of sweet goodness. Because fresh strawberries have such a short flavor life, baking and freezing become preserving alternatives (as plain old strawberry preserves isn't my thing). The girls will feast on some yummy homemade strawberry ice pops soon, just in time for the heatwave this weekend!
* * *
I discovered something else out in the strawberry fields--a new take on the popular 30 x 5 exercise regime, happily promoted by Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee. The general idea is to exercise for 30 minutes, 5 days a week. Doesn't sound hard, but if you read the folks who have and are trying it, you'll see that it can be more challenging than it sounds. Might I suggest an alternative? Instead of considering 30 x 5 as time, let's consider it distance. Take a strawberry field, 30 yards by 5 rows deep. Get down deep to pick all the best strawberries out of the area without your Step 2 Garden Hopper. (By all means, drink your water, right, Linda?)
If you ain't feelin' the burn the next day, you don't need 30 x 5!
Strawberry lemonade, anyone?