Strawberries! Smoothies, ice cream, shortcake, salads, jam, granola, breakfast, lunch, snacks, tea time, dessert… and more all taste better with fresh strawberries!
When my mom asked me what I was doing on my day off this past week and I said, “Nothing in particular,” I ended up glad I could say so. With our overlapping free time, we went strawberry picking at Lee Berry Farm in Tualatin.
“You need to weigh your picking buckets over here,” a white haired and wrinkly tan lady hollered at the little group of three who arrived just before we did. Under a portable camping canopy positioned at the top of the hill by a small stand of trees, a table stood with two scales. The farm stand attendant had parked her 2005 silver Chevy Malibu next to the set-up and would pop out of the car when picking groups showed up.
(I know it was a 2005 because when I parked my slightly older silver Chevy Malibu right next to hers, she commented, “You just had to park right there next to me, to confuse me, right?” And then we compared years.)
“I’m trying to come over there,” replied the flustered mother attempting to guide back her little guy who was already set on pulling his red wagon straight down to the field. “We’ve never done this – strawberry picked – before,” she admitted as the curmudgeonly farm stand attendant weighed the buckets.
“Hmm,” she snorted, “you couldn’t have picked a worst time to do so.”
“Why?” Asked the mother, alarm sounding in her voice.
“Because it’s end of the season,” stated the old lady with no heart. But as the mother, her son, and a lady who looked like grandma, walked away toward the strawberry field, her voice softened as she noted to me with a slight smile on her face, “Well, that’s a picture.”
And it was. It was a heart-warming picture of three generations going on a sunny day to pick strawberries, without a care in the world and a little red wagon.
Despite being the end of the season, together my mom and I picked almost 20 pounds, which looks like about two flats, in just two hours. I’m not sure what peak season was like, but I felt our picking was still good!
Recently informed about the “dirty dozen,” (a list of particular foods that hold greater amounts of pesticide residue) the fact that the strawberry field has not been sprayed in years reassured me that these strawberries are good quality. The price, a dollar fifty a pound, was not too bad either. The thistles were a challenge though, but worth it knowing they were there most likely because of a lack of sprays! And there were many ladybugs to be found among the hardy green strawberry stems.
Oh, and the smell of the strawberries was wonderful! Every so often when you reach for a plump red berry you find it overripe and smooshing strawberry juice through your fingers, but it’s okay because then you get a burst of strawberry aroma coming up through the thicket of leaves.
Although strawberry season is declining, other berries are ripening – like raspberries! If you like fresh berries, the Pacific Northwest has many places to pick for your self. Here is website I found just this season with listings of U-picks all over the place!
Here is the long awaited part 2 of my pack list for prepared adventures.
Allow me to warn again you, when I pack for any length adventures, I do over pack. So, again I ask you, please don’t be overwhelmed if this list seems excessive! And again, please remember that I don’t bring all of this stuff on every adventure!
(My advice is to keep it sharp. Even if you don’t keep it sharp, at least have it on you because having it is more useful than not. I usually carry at least one, but sometimes I’ll find several in my bag.)
(If you’re driving down the Interstate and your driver gets into a heated argument with another passenger, it is best if you have something to keep you entertained and quiet because it’s then best if all conversation stops for awhile. That is my experience at least.)
Paper & Pen/Pencil
(Good for all sorts of situations like jotting down directions from a local as he rattles off obscure directions to find a little know local spot that’s just down an unmarked road down from a small unmarked parking area just a little ways before you get to the second bridge…)
(Because I like gum.)
(Because sometimes my lips need it. If it has SPF, it doubles as an only slightly greasy sunblock for your whole face if you by chance forget real sunblock when skiing.)
(To the car. Or bike lock. Or the house. I really don’t like extending my adventures because I’ve locked myself out of something, though I do have good memories of consuming Slurpies while sitting on the curb waiting for the good ol’ Triple-A pop-a-lock guy to come and break into our car.)
Wallet with ID
(Just a good idea.)
Hat &/or sunglasses
(Both make life just more comfortable.)
(Seriously, you don’t and I don’t want me driving at night without them.)
(In the words of Mr. Monk, “It’s a jungle out there.” So, bring hand disinfectant.)
(You don’t want to improvise with SPF chap stick all the time.)
(So I like to eat at Taco Bell. They give you your burritos in little plastic bags. I keep them in the car, because they are very handy. They are handy when you decide the mud really can’t be that deep, and it’s a shorter way to the store, and you find out that the mud really can be that deep, and you find yourself sinking into it, and your clogs end up staying in the mud as you pull your feet out. In this kind of situation, little plastic bags are very, very helpful.)
(From wiping burrito beans off your lips to blowing your nose to wiping the fog off the window – tissues, tissues, tissues. In a pinch, rough brown Taco Bell napkins will work, so I keep those around too.)
(Sometimes you hit the library and you need to save a word document. Sometimes you’re at your friend’s house they want to give you photos of your day.)
There you go! That is my basic list of what I pack and tote along on a planned adventure!