Pick Your Own Farms
The trees are full of lush green leaves, the birds are busily foraging for worms in my newly planted garden, and I all I can think about is Saturday morning, when my husband and I will be heading out to a local pick your own farm to go strawberry picking. Yes, it seems as if I have been waiting for this moment for a very long time… To say that my jelly jars and canning equipment are ready is an understatement and according to the Columbus Dispatch, I may have picked a perfect year to preserve a taste of our local crop. Supposedly, our berry season is arriving 10 days late this year, but will be offering some of the best quality berries that our area has seen in years. Truly, if there was ever a reason for me to devour my cookbooks and the internet in search of some new ideas for preparing and preserving strawberries, this is it!
Strawberries come into season late Spring and early Summer. Their season is short and will only last for a few weeks. The varieties found at local pick your own farms have not been bred to travel thousands of miles to a distant market, so you will find that they are juicier, sweeter, and far more flavorful then what you will find at the average grocery store. If you have never gone strawberry picking before, I suggest that you read through the tips offered by PickYourOwn.org. This is definitely an experience not to be missed as nothing parallels the joy of selecting your food right from the source while it is still alive! Depending on the weather, it can get very warm out in the fields, so dress comfortably, wear sun block, and be sure to bring something cold to drink. I have found that these three things will often make or break the experience for most people.
Also, if you are unable to head out to the fields be sure to look for strawberries at your local farmer’s market. Many farmers pick their berries right before loading them up for the market, so you may be able to experience the freshest berries without feeling like a farm hand for an afternoon. Whole Foods Market works diligently with local area farmers to be able to provide customers with local crops grown no more then seven miles from the front door of their store. This is no doubt a convenience for those who are short on time or are stuck in the suburbs and rely on one stop shopping to stock their pantry for the week. Either way, get out there and discover what is growing locally in your area this weekend. I promise you will not be disappointed.
*Below is a list of resources to help you find Both Farmer’s Markets and Pick Your Own Farms in your own local area.
The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association provides several tools that will enable you to locate sustainable food and farms throughout the state.
In the United States:
PickYourOwn.org is an excellent source for finding Pick Your Own Farms. I have used this site many times while traveling and I will always be thankful to it for some of the amazing places that it has led me.
Local Harvest is a great go to guide for anyone interested in finding local farms, markets, CSAs, and a variety of other sustainable food sources right in their own back yard.
Note to a savvy entrepreneur, I believe there is a great market for this…