Thursday, June 4, 2009

Summer Dreaming -- Strawberry Picking

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. In April, the Stoddart Avenue neighborhood kids expressed interest in us having a strawberry patch this year, so I started one in the northeast corner of the Garden. (Of course, it will be a few years before we get a significant number of strawberries to share). 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'm also going to try again to make strawberry preserves this weekend.

Stoddart Avenue Community Gardeners are gathering this Saturday to go strawberry picking. You'll need to contact me to find out the exact time and location. However, these are the best options for strawberry picking from the Bexley area:

a. Hann Farms 4600 Lockbourne Road has u-pick strawberries $1/pound. This is the closest u-pick farm to Bexley, but the trip there is a little tricky (through an industrial district, etc.) and it is not exactly the most scenic farm. Beth and I picked strawberries there last year and it was depressing to see how many of the berries were rotting in the field. You can't beat this price. Beth made a strawberry pie with them. Call 491-0812 for more information.

b. Schact Farms, 5950 Shannon Road in Canal Winchester, $1.9/pound. This is the next closest to Bexley. I discovered them last September and made many visits for tomatoes, peppers and eggplant to appease my Friday night addiction to canning tomatoes. They have an extensive pumpkin patch. Call 833-1932 for more information.

c. Jacquenmin Farm, (between Plain City and Dublin), $1.8/pound. I visited here last May with my niece and it is very quaint and very close to Dublin and Sports Ohio. Call 873-5725 for more information.

d. Doran Farms, 5462 Babbitt Rd. New Albany, $1.6/pound. I've never been there, but have heard good things about it. Call 855-3885 for more information.

e. Kroger’s weekly special: This week strawberries are on sale for $1.5/pound. Who knows where and when they were picked;) Usually, strawberries sell for a minimum of $2.50/pound.

f. Circle S Farm, 9015 London-Groveport Rd west of Grove City. $1.3/pound. 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 (like yesterday). 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 will take no more than one hour to pick close to 15 pounds.

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