Sunday, June 20, 2010

Strawberry Picking

This past Friday we finally had a break in the clouds here in Western Washington, so some friends and I decided to take advantage of the sun and the season to go and pick strawberries. I'm not a total stranger to farm life. I spent several months living and working on organic farms in Hawaii a few years ago, so I have eaten all sorts of tropical fruits straight from the tree or vine. Fruits that I had never heard of before spending time on the islands. Egg fruit? Durian? Sapote? They became common place. But strawberries. I don't know if I've ever picked more than one or two at a time from a small garden plot.

Picking strawberries is like a treasure hunt. Searching for rubies in a sea of leafy green, hunched over on your hands and knees. They shade themselves from view, so you must be diligent until you spot that blazing red nestled underneath the emerald foliage. They hide themselves, but once found, these fruits just beg to be plucked from the vine. And popped into your mouth. The four of us filled our baskets with sixteen pounds of strawberries that afternoon.

We visited a farm called "Garden Treasures" for our little picking party (goes well with my previous analogy). The green houses and fields were set against a backdrop of snow-capped mountain peaks. It was incredibly peaceful and a much needed break from the urban chaos that is my day-to-day. Not only did this farm/nursery have berries for our eager, little hands to pick, but they also had rows and rows of green things to harvest. Cabbages, broccoli, romaine and butterhead lettuces, chard, kale and a dense thicket of pea vines. Two of my ambitious friends must have picked ten pounds of sugar snaps.

Now that my berry loot is washed and waiting in the fridge to be eaten, there are decisions to be made. I'm busy thinking up ways to best savor them. Jam? A crisp or cobbler, perhaps? Both are on my mind, although, this morning I decided to keep it simple and just toss a few whole berries on my yogurt with some walnuts and a drizzle of honey.

Breakfast was a resounding success. Hopefully strawberry season will hold on long enough for another trip to the fields. I could use fresh berries in my yogurt everyday.

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