Family Photos

Strawberry weekend

This weekend, I saw red. Everywhere. But, honestly, I was in a pretty good mood about it. Especially since I was sitting in the middle of a strawberry field.

Picking strawberries at Westview Orchards in Michigan.

Friday night, at my in-laws, I was looking at the Detroit Free Press newspaper and there was  an entire section devoted to the best you-pick strawberry farms in the area.

Strawberries?

When did this happen?

Then I started thinking about my last strawberry freezer jam adventure was two years ago.  I was pregnant and bought a ridiculous amount of strawberries then had to do serious math in Meijer to figure out how many jars I needed and how much pectin I needed.

Keep this in mind. I have a degree in journalism. I haven’t had to do serious math in YEARS. So I’m in Meijer with my mom and my then-almost-two-year-old trying to do math on my phone while we argue about how many pints are in a cup. We suddenly look over to see my daughter with my lanyard wrapped around her head, completely knotted and stuck.

Yup, mother of the year right here!

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Madison in the strawberry fields.

But back to this year.

One of the fields that has some of the best you-pick everything, Westview Orchards, is right by my in-laws house. So, I decided I would take my girls strawberry picking the following morning while my husband was working.

The days leading up to our strawberry-picking trip were filled with rain and clouds and gloom. Saturday morning, it looked so much better. Then the clouds started to come in again. Then it cleared up. I had no idea what faced us in the girls. So much so that I dressed the girls in an outfit for one weather and brought clothes for the exact opposite.

We made the drive out to Westview Orchards and didn’t actually get there until 2:30. My husband had to work, but wanted to run to my in-laws house. To save on gas, we waited for him. We arrived to cloudy skies, a breeze and cool temps.

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The strawberries weren't entirely ripe. In another week, they will be luscious.

We were told right from the beginning that pickings might be slim. The manager seemed to know where the best berries would be, so we took our chances, grabbed the biggest basket we could and were on the last shuttle out to the field.

We were basically the only pickers out there. The one family there when we got there took off shortly thereafter. Apparently people had been complaining that there just weren’t enough berries to pick. Clearly they weren’t looking. We found enough to fill our box, and a few to snack on as we went along, as well.

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Picking strawberries is a great way to spend the afternoon.

I can’t say enough about the worker out there with us. He helped us find a few berries, took our pictures and just generally socialized with us. It was customer service at his best. Though he did tell us some bad news about the apple crop for the year. It seems our crazy weather just caused some serious damage and we’ll be lucky if we are out there picking apples this fall.

We spent some time on the activities at the orchard as well since it was family day and the extras were free. The kids had such a great time because it’s something we usually don’t do when we are there.

We had to teach my daughters what “red” was and what “red on one side” was and we did come away with more “green” berries than I thought we would, but they rippened up over night and I had enough to make a strawberry pie, which I am indulging in right now, several bags of frozen strawberries for daquiris, smoothies, more pies and yogurt mixins, but mostly daquiris. I also made five jars of freezer jam. Combine this with cherry jam I made last fall, I think we’ll have enough to get by for a while.

This week, I’ll outline exactly what I made and how did it–without sacrificing flavor, but getting rid of some of the calories. I can’t wait to share it all with you.

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