Sunday, April 18, 2010

Strawberry Raffle Results and the First Harvest

Here is the first harvest of strawberries for the season. Jose is holding the berries with Jesus on his right, stopping to smile over the occasion. It took these guys some time to gather up this many berries, but they went ahead and did it because otherwise the next round of oncoming rain could just rot whatever berries were sitting out in the field. So, this harvest was a little rushed by the weather, but so is farming one way or another for the most part. We revolve around weather before all else.

Here is Wayne (you can recognize the barren feet) giving the grit ridden berries a rough washing....water is often sparse around the farm as we run on a generator. This round of berries has endured some weather and not many came out free of a good layer of dirt from recent rains. They weren't all super red and perfect either, but that did not rob them of true, sweet strawberry flavor. These early berries beat the shipped in grocery store varietals on any day of the year. It was such a treat to have berries to snack on again....a huge benefit of operating the farm stand.

Despite the white edges seen in the photo, for the most part these berries were quite sweet and full of flavor. I think the cardboard and flavorless grocery store options might train us to shy away from a berry that does not look perfect, but the truth is that a home grown berry is just all around better. We are able to grow strawberries that do not require shipping and hence have better flavor qualities in exchange for durability....this is the usual issue with local versus commercial food choices. Trade in your Costco and Trader Joe berries for local ones, it is time to enjoy a quality product from your local farm. As a side note, the folks who stand on the corner of Fulton and Airport and sell flats of berries do not come from the farm....they just hang out on our corner and next to our sign, coincidentally.

And here is my first strawberry sale! Nancy; a committed weekly customer, friend, supporter of the farm and all the people and products involved; gathered up the first pickings of berries to take home and savor this week. She has some rhubarb too....also in season right now. For those of you who need strawberries and rhubarb together that time is here. Before expecting too much from the strawberry crop, let's wait and see what this coming rain does first. It won't help the berries, but hopefully they won't get damaged either and we might have more this coming weekend.

And finally, here is Sara. Dropping in after her morning run, Sara got lucky as I had just tallied up the results of the Strawberry Raffle. Instead of leaving her recycled strawberry basket with me, she got to refill it with the first berries of the season at no charge. Sara was one of three winners in the raffle who came closest to guessing the first harvest date. You never know what surprises you might find when you drop in at you local farm. Unpredictably, it might not have the grocery store selection you are seeking, but there is always something and very often something new, exciting and unexpected as we wait for seasonal treats to come to fruition.

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