I can’t quite put my finger on why, but strawberry picking is one of my favorite things to do. I am totally enamored by the idea of fresh food and eating where you live and farm to table and all that wonderful stuff. (You’ll see that in my novel!) Plus, it makes you feel like a kid again!
The first time I took my son Will he was six months old, strapped to me in the Baby Bjorn. He was facing outward, and I remember getting back to the car and absolutely panicking because he had strawberry juice all over his face and hands, which meant that, obviously, he had grabbed a few and eaten them. I monitored him every five minutes completely convinced that he was going to break out into a violent, strawberry allergy rash at any moment.
That is probably because my mother- and aunt-in-law told me that I ate so many strawberries during my pregnancy that I was going to give him said allergy. Thank goodness, it didn’t happen!
Fast forward two years, and, today, in my thick dress with the zipper and heels, at the absolute hottest part of the North Carolina day, I was planning to ride out to the farm and simply buy a bucket of strawberries and head back home. But, when I got there, ten minutes before the 4 o’clock closing time, I was greeted with the news that, “We’re out, but you can pick yourself!”
I sort of looked down at my attire, but no one seemed to be concerned about my footwear but me. I was planning to get back into the air conditioning and head home when Will said, “Yay, Mommy! Let’s pick strawberries.”
You really can’t say, “no,” to that.
So, in my heels, I hauled my thirty-three pound toddler (who decided today that it was too hot to walk) and the empty bucket down the dusty, dirt path (which seemed much longer than when I’m in my gym shorts and tennis shoes…) in the ninety degree weather.
And, against all odds, we had a blast anyway. We got a huge bucket of the sweetest, freshest, finest, pesticide-free strawberries that money can buy. And a fun, summer memory. The dress can be dry cleaned and my poor tired feet will recover.
And it was totally worth it because that means that I’m going to get to make my first strawberry jam! One of the protagonists in my novel is a jam-making, canning queen, and I had the best time reading and learning and writing and living vicariously through her. So now I may as well apply what I’ve learned! But I might have to call in some reinforcements…
In case you’re in a DIY kind of mood, here’s a great strawberry jam recipe that I came across from a blogger right here in Eastern North Carolina, just a hop, skip and a jump from my little town! How exciting! I’m crazy about Chloe’s blog — and her charming Big Mill Bed & Breakfast in Williamston. Don’t you just love how the internet makes the world seem so big but then, right in the next breath, so very small again?
Wishing you a day full of simple pleasures… And fresh strawberries!