I have a secret. I make a strawberry run just about every other day. This is the time of year when I am strawberry-crazy and eat my fill until the next fruit crop sets in. There is something intoxicating about a ripe red juicy berry – the kind that’s red all the way through, not just teasingly red on the outside and white on the inside like those in the grocery stores. If I can get up the nerve, I may try canning strawberries again to prolong the taste all year, but my first experience didn’t result in a good batch – it oxidized, so I’ll have to get some expert help.
My fruit trips usually lead me down to Hall Family Farm in the Ballantyne area. It’s a great, family-friendly pick-your-own farm that also sells pre-picked berries. As I noted in my previous post, their pick-your-own is $2.09/lb and pre-picked is $2.99/lb. Today while at the farm, I met the farmer, Kevin Hall, and told him how much I loved his strawberries. Kevin was sprucing up the strawberry maze they have for kids to run around in, but took some time to tell me about his operation.
Hall Family Farm has been growing strawberries for three years. Sometimes they grow other crops, like this year they have some corn growing. Last year, they had some lettuce and canteloupe crops. Kevin’s uncle mainly handles the other crops while Kevin handles the strawberries. The strawberries are grown on raised, plastic covered beds which allows for a higher production yield. Sure enough, upon closer inspection, Kevin’s plants are healthy and green, sitting about 8-10 inches tall with beautiful berries draping off of them. Each fall, the plants are ripped out, and the beds are replanted. Strawberry plants up North are usually left to winter over and create daughter plants through runners, but with the plastic raised bed system which is more common in the South, the runners cannot take hold, and next year’s crop doesn’t yield as tasty a berry. It’s a lot of work and expense, but it sure is worth it when you taste those berries.
Speaking of tasting the berries, how about enjoying some Strawberries-n- Cream tonight for dessert?
- 1 C heavy cream – try some from Lakeview Farms
- 1 tsp vanilla extract – I like Watkins Organic
- 1 Tbs organic sugar, or to taste
- 2 C strawberries, whole or sliced to your preference
- mint garnish (optional)
Whip the heavy cream until it forms soft peaks. Add the vanilla extract and sugar. Continue to whip until thick, but do not over-whip into butter. Serve on top of strawberries and garnish with mint.