I use to go strawberry picking with my Grandma and Mom when I was small. I remember only going a few times and often wondered why I didn’t go more. When I became a Mom, I took my daughter strawberry picking to Oakridge Farms in Neenah. I think the first time I took her, she must have been around 4. At that time we would pick two flats. I would ask her to pick one and I would another. The usual story went that after about 30 minutes she would start complaining that she was either bored, tired or her belly was too full from eating so many strawberries or I would get frustrated because every other one she would say, “look at this one” or “look how big this one is”. It took a long time to pick two flats. I remember thinking back to my childhood, now realizing that is probably why I didn’t get to go more often because of the complaining that I just can’t seem to remember me doing.
Each year though we would go and though the time got longer after she would complain, I kind of dreaded going even though she wanted to go, it took so long. By the time she got to be about 8, we were picking 4 flats. With the bed and breakfast, I had to make more jam, freeze more berries and bake more shortcake. We started going to Prellwitz Produce in Ripon. The drive was a little bit longer, but the berries were always bigger, sweeter, more plentiful and less weedy and they had a tractor that took us into the fields. Chase (my daughter) thought this was the coolest! Finally she got to be about 12 and like every year, I would say that it was strawberry time. That year she said she din’t really want to go. Though I was slightly disappointed, I was somewhat overjoyed thinking that I had some “me” time and I would get through this in no time at all. So, I put on my Ipod and went into the fields. We had been going to Prellwitz’s now for several years so I knew what to expect. I had a great time, jamming out to music and had four flats picked in no time. I even had extra time to make it home and start making jam
This year strawberry season came a bit early. I told my daughter that I was going and even before I could ask her if she wanted to go, she said “Mom, you know that I am not going with you, right?” I just said, “no big deal. More shortcake for me”. I was kidding of course. I love to share. I was a bit disappointed though this year. This was the first year that I had gone that the berries were much much smaller. The were still ripe, abundant and very sweet, but much smaller than I was use to. I did ask if there was another variety available, but to my dismay, this was it. So therefore, it took me twice as long to pick. I was very precise in the ones I wanted. I left many behind so the people picking behind me probably thought I was crazy. I did get 4 flats picked though, made jam, froze some berries to use this winter, made some shortcake and treated my guests to strawberry cream cheese stuffed french toast.
Wherever you decide to go for your strawberry picking, have fun, enjoy. Feel free to check out both of these places I mentioned. They always have peas, blueberries, raspberries and so many other wonderful treats as well.