Friday, May 28, 2010

SACG Preparing for Annual Strawberry Picking Expedition

For the last few years, I have a summer routine which includes visiting the Columbus Arts Festival and picking strawberries. When I was in high school, my Farm Bureau Youth group used to pick strawberries and then sell them for a small profit from the back of a pickup truck in the middle of my small town. As you may know, the SACG has two small strawberry patches, but there are not enough for us to pick and make strawberry jam. For now, I pick them at U-Pick farms, wash them, spread them on cookie sheets and then freeze them for later use as ice cubes in margaritas and in fruit smoothies. (I put the frozen strawberries in freezer bags to store them until I need them). I also make strawberry preserves and jam.

I picked 12 quarts this morning so that I can make jam this evening. It was not too muddy.

Stoddart Avenue Community Gardeners are gathering next Saturday, June 5 to go strawberry picking. You'll need to contact me to find out the exact time and location, although we're planning on meeting at the SACG at 9 a.m. However, these are the best options for strawberry picking from the Bexley area:

a. Hann Farms 4600 Lockbourne Road has u-pick strawberries $1.49/pound (almost a 50% increase over last year). This is the closest u-pick farm to Bexley, but the trip there is a little tricky (through an industrial district in Obetz, etc.). Beth and I picked strawberries there a few years ago and it was depressing to see how many of the berries were rotting in the field. Beth made a strawberry pie with them. They have been picking strawberries here since Mother's Day and moved their strawberry field to closer to the farm house. You must pay with cash or check. Call 491-0812 for more information.

b. Schact Farms, 5950 Shannon Road in Canal Winchester, $1.9/pound (same price as last year). This is the next closest to Bexley. This is where we went last year. They also have an extensive pumpkin patch. They accept cash, credit cards and WIC. Call 833-1932 for more information.

c. Jacquenmin Farm, (between Plain City and Dublin), $1.8/pound (same price as last year). I visited here two years ago with my nieces and it is very quaint and very close to Dublin and Sports Ohio. They have a nice system of having you leave a flag where you left off so that the next person knows where to start picking. They've just opened for the season. Call 873-5725 for more information.

d. Doran Farms, 5462 Babbitt Rd. New Albany, $1.69/pound. I've never been there, but have heard good things about it. They are opening today. Call 855-3885 for more information.

e. Circle S Farm, 9015 London-Groveport Rd west of Grove City. $1.3/pound. They will not be opening for u-pick for another week. I went here a few years ago with my niece and it's a nice, large farm, but is way, way out in the country. However, they also sell a lot of strawberries and other items in Farmers Markets and don't always have strawberries available for U-pick. They tell me strawberry picking season will run through Father's Day. Call 878-9462 for more information.

Wherever you go, the strawberries are so plentiful that you're likely to spend more time driving than picking. It should take no more than one hour to pick close to 12 pounds, although last year we waited too long to go picking and it took us longer than anticipated.

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