So our family tradition is to go to a local pick your own strawberry farm (Heeman’s in Thorndale, ON) the day after school is done for the summer. This year, we had a late start and went around 4 pm to pick. We saw an old friend that worked the Pick Your Own (or #PYO ) and walked instead of waiting for the tractor and wagon ride.
There the pickings were slim. It turns out our nasty winter left some of the strawberry plant roots, a little worse for wear. So that might have been the last day for picking! We were so lucky! We got assigned to our row, and the lessons began. So many questions from the girls even though we have done this for years. Every year, there is a different level of questions or different people to interact with. It’s nice because it gives us the outdoors, the fresh air, and fruits (literally) of our labour. Quality time and no electronics (which I limit to 60 minutes a day for each child anyways – it works, try it!). So we got our strawberries back to the super clean barn. They weighed them ($2.25/pound) and the price tag – $47 and some. Yes, myself and two children (8 & 11) picked about 21 pounds of strawberries in less than an hour.
What does one do with that many strawberries? We delivered some to a friend. One more delivery still has to be made. And that night we brought more to a neighbour having an epicure party (their fruit dip mixes are delish!). Still there was way to many to eat fresh (we pick them at very ripe, as they taste the best and are super sweet then) even for my strawberry monster (the 8 year old). The plan, as always is to “jam” and to freeze whatever is left if I’m waiting for blueberry and raspberry season (which usually comes later in July & August).
So for an adventure, lessons in life, some free child labour (kidding!), and a tractor/wagon ride – plus tons of fresh produce at a fraction of a price (who says healthy, fresh and local is expensive?) the answer is simple:
Get picking your own fruits & veggies.
Cheap food plus:
- Physical activity for the whole family
- Entertainment that is cheap and you get a prize worth more than a dollar or stale popcorn
- Nature and fresh air
- Sharing with friends and family (community & social support), or a local food bank – yes they take it!
- Do some home cooking to get sweet & stick, and
- Enjoy your work and memories for months to come (preserve laughs and food).
So when raspberry or blueberry season comes, grab a friend or the family, and you will be berry, I mean very, happy that you did. It’s always a new experience, even if you have done it times before. If not, the staff are always so willing to help – so just ask. There is a first time for everything for everyone. (Or just comment below and I will help!)