“Mountains and fountains
Rain down on me
Buried in berries
What a jam jamboree!”
—Jamberry by Bruce Degen
The Portland area is going nuts over Hood strawberries—folks getting to farmer’s markets early and buying as many as they’re able (as some growers limit the number of baskets you can buy), making jam to make the taste last all year, eating the red gems at every meal—and I can’t blame them, especially after our family strawberry-picking outing.
We went to Baggenstos Farm on a gorgeous day. After greeting the goats and playing on the tractor, we took our boxes to the strawberry fields. We planted ourselves among the rows of berries and set to picking.
Soon, though, Eric and I realized that we wouldn’t be the efficient pickers we imagined, and I bid adieu to my plans for strawberry tarts, jam and fruit salad. We didn’t have time to search out the perfectly ripe berries because we were too busy watching our little bug who had gone crazy for strawberries!
I know, I know, you’re not supposed to eat berries in the field. But I’ve always nibbled berries as I picked them, and I couldn’t deny Peeper the unbridled pleasure of chowing down and letting the ruby juice drip down her little chin.
No sooner than we plunked a strawberry into the box than she would take it out, trying to stuff it—hull and all—into her mouth. When we stymied her, she’d turn to the plants themselves. We had to keep her from eating green ones and mushed ones, so great was her berry fever.
We ended up picking a decent haul, enough to top yogurt, make smoothies and simply eat plain. We froze some, too, for the days when we are dying for the decadently sweet taste of early summer.