Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Strawberry Picking

Yesterday we went to Wickham's Farm in Cutchogue with a group of homeschooling friends for strawberry picking. We missed out last year--the time slipped by and before we knew it the berry season was over--and were determined to go this year, so when I saw the group trip I lost no time signing up. We've picked peaches and apples at Wickham's before, but we'd never had the farm tour. We got a great long hay ride all around the farm and our guide pointed out all the crops and told fun stories about the farm, which has been continuously farmed by the Wickham family since before the Revolutionary War! We saw peaches, apples, pears, plums, cherries, apricots, nectarines, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries....and I may have forgotten some! I was amazed to learn that they actually get rid of their trees after some time; the trees have a certain shelf life where they bear the best fruit. Maybe it's because I am such a subpar gardener, but I can't imagine ripping these beautiful trees up and throwing them on a scrap heap, then starting all over from seedlings! However, it goes without saying that they know what they're doing, and I don't!

The day started off threatening and overcast; the trip was nearly rescheduled. But in the end we went, thankfully--because the sun came out and it was gorgeous. Not too hot, light breeze, no bugs. After the hay ride, we learned about the bees the farm keeps and we picked our luscious fruit, then picnicked and played with our friends in an open field with a convenient picnic pavillion. I stopped in to the farm stand and bought honey (from their bees, naturally) and two dozen homemade donuts......talk about delicious. I am thinking of trying to make them here!

We each got a big quart box to pick, so we ended up with two gigantic bowls of berries. We used half for our traditional strawberry shortcake dinner, and now have enough berries to last us at least two days around here! My mom always had a day where we had shortcake for dinner--and this is the real deal--no crummy sponge cake or canned whipped cream, but homemade butter biscuits topped with sliced strawberries juicy with sugar and fresh whipped cream with pure vanilla added in. To die for, simply put. The kids look forward to it--but nobody can ever eat all they take! It's that rich.

I'm always kind of sad after we go strawberry picking--it's the first milestone of summer to me other than swimming. However, after looking at the Wickham picking schedule, we may be picking quite a lot of fruit this summer!


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