Strawberry Picking at Lee Berry Farm. Tualatin, Oregon
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!