I love strawberries. They are the first delicate incarnation of summer. So when I saw that the farm where I have my farm share offers pick-your-own strawberries, I knew I would make my way out there somehow.
Yesterday, Luis and I rented a Zipcar and drove the 80+ miles out to Red Fire Farm to pick our share of strawberries. (I admit, 80 miles is a heck of a drive to the “local” farm stand. On the other hand, it’s a lot closer than Watsonville, CA where the other organic strawberries I can buy come from.) For us city-folk with farm shares, our one time picking limit for the season was 10 quarts. 10 quarts of strawberries!!! That’s a lot. We picked 6. And thankfully, instead of being 85 and sunny, it was 78 and cloudy with sprinkles while we bent over the rows, searching for succulent red berries.
After strawberries, we spent a couple more minutes picking a scant 3 pints of sugar snap and snow peas. They were pretty well picked over by other CSA members earlier in the week.
Our cartons full and backs tired, we then drove back towards the Mass Pike, deciding to stop at Chickopee State Park to enjoy our packed lunch. We didn’t stay long or go hiking (had to get the zipcar back home), but what we could see from our picnic table was certainly lovely. It’s a shame it’s taken us so long to get out of Boston and see other parts of Mass (even those so close by). I’ll try to be better and figuring out how to get us out of Manhattan (though I’m guessing this will be even more of a challenge).
Now we get enjoy the berries! Smoothies for breakfast, thinking of making personal sized pie shells to fill with strawberries for dessert, maybe scones to top w/ strawberries tomorrow morning…
See all the pictures of our outing in my gallery.
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if you are looking for farm fresh stuff, you can probably get them at union square greenmarket, one of the oldest farmer’s markets around. it’s also positively huge that a lot of times i had no idea what to get 😉
other than that, it is relatively easy to rent a car and go to ny upstate and visit farm stands. i recall going to catskills sometime in september and getting a big half barrel of the most delicious peaches i’ve ever had. i’m sure there are also many farm festivals, one example being hudson valley.
as for state parks, there’s a lot of lovely mountainous state parks in ny upstate, and gorgeous beaches in long island (although they are sadly being eroded). there’s several places where you can row a boat, bbq, just generally have a blast.
i can’t remember any specific names (I’m currently running a fever) but if you need any info, let me know and i’d be glad to help out.
one great book about farms in new york (state):
It’s a Long Road to a Tomato, by Keith Stewart
it’s about small-scale farming in general, although it also talks about life on his farm and why he decided to give up city living for farming in the country. great writing and illustrations, too.
Thanks, Eunice! I’ll probably drop you e-mails once we’ve moved to NYC to ask about favorite NY things to do, and places to go outside the city. Also, I discovered that there’s a year-round greenmarket by Columbia! I’m sure it’s MUCH smaller than Union Square, but I’m still looking forward to checking it out. Thanks for the ideas. We’re collecting ny related info and storing it away like pack-rats for our new future.
the problem with nyc is that no matter long long you’ve lived there, it’s just not possible to explore it all. it also means it never gets boring (there is always something new), though it can get old (all that buildings! no trees! so many people!). i should look up my shoebox full of nyc-related info — we can look through there when you’re in town 🙂
i lived near columbia (114th st, between broadway and morningside), so i’m a bit familiar with the area there. you guys are gonna be lucky– i dream about columbia bagels (i think they are the absolute best bagels– though some disagree and say H+H is the best) and the mouthwatering eclairs (indeed the best eclairs i’ve had) at hungarian pastry shop. so many good mornings spent over bagels and eclairs. 🙂 did i also mention the great bookstores? labyrinth’s has a really great used book selection, and i loved browsing in papryus.
Hey stranger! It’s an election year… but that’s no excuse for how completely not here I’ve been. Seth pointed me to yo’ blog, though – love it! My favorite thing to do with extra fresh summer strawberries is to slice ’em with a little sugar, mint, lemon zest, and water, and serve over baking powder biscuits sweetened with a little honey, vanilla, and cinnamon. If you have more berries than time to eat ’em, you can also make them, then freeze ’em in big zip-top bags. They keep for months, but still thaw in not much more than the time it takes to cook dinner, and taste almost just-picked.
Wow, I love strawberries, and picking them fresh would be such good fun. I gotta find a farm near my area that does that though, seems like a lot stop letting people pick them.
Anyone know of an organic farm to pick berries, apples or any other fruit or vegetables?
Eunice- Would love your advice on places to see/visit in New York City.
P.S. an organic farm not too far from New York City.
Organic is hard to find for apples and other orchard fruit around here. Happily, there are plenty of folks who follow IPM (integrated pest management) or are low-spray. I know you can find no-spray strawberries, I see them in the market quite frequently.
You can find a list of Greenmarket producers who have pick your own operations at http://www.cenyc.org/greenmarket/pickyourown. I’m sure this list is missing some, but it’s a good place to start.