This morning, I logged on to Facebook intending to quickly check my messages and get on with our school day - but then I saw that our favorite local u-pick strawberry farm was opening for the first day of the season at 10am! I knew it would be a zoo, since this is spring break for our county's schools, but we go every year and I hate to wait because they're only open until the berries are gone - so I quickly got us all dressed and headed out the door.
We made our way to Harry Stacy Farms, which is about half an hour away from our house, and it was indeed a madhouse. Usually you can park in front of the farm, but it was so packed that we had to park about two houses down and walk! We arrived to find a long line at checkout, which was new - in past years, they've sold baskets so you paid up front, but this year they had a problem getting the baskets so they were handing out buckets and having you pay by weight after you pick the strawberries. We got two buckets and were off to the lower field, which seemed less crowded.
It's such a delight to watch my children grow up - the first time we came to this farm was probably four years ago, when my son was not quite two years old and my daughter was a baby. I remember putting her in my mei tai wrap on my back and how much pain I was in by the end of the picking experience; it gave me new sympathy for people who have to work in fields all day, especially women with babies! Every year, it's fun to watch how my children act and react to the u-pick experience, and this year they were simply delighted to be there. I did have to coach them a little bit to pick only the ripest, reddest berries, but it only took us about twenty minutes to fill up our two buckets.
We waited in line for what seemed like an eternity to pay (again, spring break madness!), and then we headed home - stopping at the store to get some whipping cream so I could make strawberry shortcake. After lunch, I put our Classical Conversations memory work review songs on and got down to business - the business of preparing strawberries for various recipes!
I made two recipes today - or at least, I've started on them. One is the strawberry shortcake that I make every year, and the other is a new recipe for fruit leather that I found on Pinterest. I've never made that before, so I hope it turns out well - it cooks for an astonishing amount of time, albeit at a very low temperature, but it's rumored to be absolutely amazing! I had a minor kitchen catastrophe when making the fruit leather - I had just finished blending the strawberries with a little bit of sugar, but when I went to pick up my blender I twisted the wrong part and ended taking it apart rather than just lifting the pitcher part up, resulting in an enormous mess. Fortunately, I had placed one of the prepared cookie sheets next to the blender, so I was able to salvage about half of the puree.
In other news, my kitchen is now remarkably clean :)
And now it's time for school - the kids have finished their CC review and are getting restless, so I'd best get to it!