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Strawberries to Start the Summer

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Yesterday we loaded kids, carseats, snacks, and buckets into a friend’s minivan – 2 moms and our 4 kids – and went questing after the fierce, but not particualrly elusive, Strawberry.

We were successful. We went picking at a friend’s farm where the berries were thick and sweet.

Brother-Bug hard at work and snack.

There was great excitement from all the kids, and enough space in the open fields for them to run and scream and “help” pick berries for pies and jams and frozen treats.

I love getting kids out of the house and out of the constraints if the city. I always notice how much happier they seem, how less drastic their meltdowns become. I especially love when we can connect the experiences of outside and away to the food that we eat. It seems so empowering and health-building, not to mention FUN!

What all kids really need – space to run and play without restraint.

The strawberries taste the best when they are fresh in the field, all the better for being just a little dusty. When we bring the berries home and wash them, they still taste better than purchased berries because our work is a part of them, and our memories of toddlers free-ranging through rows of bright berries lingers around each bite.

Oh Yum!!

Berry picking should be a mandatory activity, and not only for children. Take a morning, or the whole day. Play hooky and flee to the berry patch. In most areas strawberries absurd just starting. Soon you can find blueberries or blackberries. The summer is full of sweetness.


We went picking at Riverbend Farm, near Pleasant Hill. I love this farm and buy all my canning fruits from them. If you aren’t in our area, try a Google search for u-pick berries. Find your own favorite local farms to support.

Keep your eye out for a post about all the many things I will do with these berries!

I guess my work is cut out for me…

Blueberry Day

Today, on a cool, slightly damp day, we adventures out to Adkin’s Farm for blueberry picking. The picking was a little damp, but we didn’t get hot, dehydrated, or sunburned. And this is the Willamette Valley, so we are used to the damp. The bushes were laden and it was a fun and successful adventure. Rest assured that regardless of what else happens, there will be more pie at this house.

Many of the berries will be dehydrated and frozen. Leftover freezer berries from past years and some berries from today found their way into the jam pot.

After canning nine jars if plain ol’ blueberry jam, I decided that diversity is the spice of life. So I added some ground cloves, ground ginger, and chipotle peppers to the pot. This came out fabulous. I think I have a brother and fellow canner out there who wants s PB&J sandwich with this concoction.

All in all, 15 more jars of jam and all the freezing and drying, and we can call this a good canning day.

And if anyone is interested, here is the approximate recipe I created for the

Blueberry-Chipotle Jam

To one standard blueberry jam recipe


2 tablespoons ground ginger
1/2teaspoon ground cloves
1-3 tablespoons chipotles peppers in adobo sauce, ground smooth.

Start with a small amount of the Chipotle and adjust the spice to taste and heat desires. Remember that it is easier to put spice in than take it out!