One of our first adventures this summer was to Blueberry Hill Farm this past weekend where Noodle was able to pick strawberries for the first time! She also took advantage of my camera to begin her summer photo project.
This was a girls-only outing and Grandma Debbie and Aunt Steph went along. We picked strawberries, then hopped across the road a bit to buy produce at Bass Farms. After that, we drove a bit to Flamm Orchards for strawberry shortcake and strawberry Razzles (a rendition of a Blizzard). We passed out when we got home!
This was Noodle’s first trip to the strawberry farm, and I hadn’t been since I was a kid. I remember … and still get teased about … eating as many strawberries as I picked. Apparently I even turned red from the adventures. I don’t doubt that at all. Noodle had the same issue. We finally made a rule that she had to pick five strawberries before she could eat one. It became a game to see how long she could last before finding a big juicy berry to pop in her mouth. Not long!
Where do strawberries come from?
Aside from the fun adventure, taking kids to u-pick farms is a great way to teach them where our food comes from … and gives them a tactile learning opportunity. I don’t want Noodle thinking her berries come out of a plastic box from the grocery store, so we plan to visit the farm to pick blueberries, raspberries and blackberries when the time comes. It’s important to me that she knows how food is grown and harvested. We’re pretty fortunate to have so many types of farms within a short drive. On our adventure, we talked about how strawberries are grown. We were able to look at a few strawberry flowers as well as berries at different stages.
We had long conversations about why we don’t pick the green berries but look for really red ripe berries to pick. We weighed our berries, then she paid for them (with money from Mom, of course!). That gave us a chance to talk about money and even a little about how the farm makes its profit.
Blueberry Hill also lets you reuse your trays each time you return in exchange for a bit of a discount. That gave me an opportunity to talk about reusing items and recycling. It’s so easy to turn a fun adventure into a learning experience without Noodle ever knowing it!
I froze half of the berries by hulling them and placing them in rows on baking sheets. Once the berries a frozen, I place them into freezer-safe containers. Freezing them individually first keeps them from sticking together in the containers. Now we have a few quarts for smoothies and other treats. Frozen strawberries will keep safely for several months, but they never last that long!
We’ve eaten a lot of strawberry shortcake lately! I’m lazy when it comes to macerated strawberries. I hull mine and slice the big one in half, but I don’t slice them all … that takes way too long! I simply douse them with 1/4-1/2 a cup of sugar depending on how many berries I’m using, then grab the potato masher and mash them. This creates a good amount of juice, which is great for strawberry shortcake. Top biscuits or pound cake slices with the macerated strawberries. Top that with whipped cream or ice cream and go sit on the porch while you enjoy!
As I mentioned earlier, this was the first entry in our summer photo project album. Here are a few of the photos Noodle took … a lot of eyeball and toe shots! She was so proud of the photo she took of the nice young man who helped us get started – she exclaimed, “Mom, I got his picture!” Only my child!