June 10, 2022
Before I moved to Oregon, I had NEVER tasted a fresh strawberry. I thought strawberries were sour, and didn't really enjoy them.
When we moved to our property 11 years ago, there was a huge garden area fenced off. We thought it was completely overtaken by weeds, so we set out to destroy everything. We came to a patch of different "weeds", and I remember telling Chris, "These have spiky balls growing on them! We have to get rid of these!" So, we proceeded to dig them out.
Our neighbor meandered over during this massacre, and said simply, "How do you guys like your strawberry patch?" We stopped, looked at each other, looked at him, and Chris asked, "Which ones are the strawberries?"
Of course, they were the ones we were angrily tearing up. Luckily, we hadn't gotten far and we had a HUGE harvest of strawberries our first year here.
That first red, juicy strawberry I tasted from our patch was like nothing I had ever tasted in my life. Absolutely heavenly.
Our patch lasted a couple more years, but it eventually died out and was strangled by other invasive weeds. Gardening is still something we are learning.
So, when it is strawberry pickin' time, we head to our favorite U-Pick spots!
This year, I thought it would NEVER be time!
The rain and the cold dragged on and on this year.
But this week the strawberries were finally ready and Fordyce Farm opened up their glorious U-Pick strawberry patch.
Fordyce Farm is located at 7023 Sunnyview Rd NE in Salem, Oregon. This farm is run by an amazing family and you are sure to be greeted in their fields or at their farm store by friendly, smiling faces.
The farm hosts many events throughout the year. Their farm store offers plants, seasonal produce, delicious pastries baked in house, and other offerings from local businesses.
You can definitely find us here often! We like to eat some pastries out by the playground and take in the beauty of the orchards and fields all around.
And this time around, pick some Hood Strawberries!
We got there a little later than I like to start picking, but there was some nice cloud cover so it was perfect. The field already had quite a few families picking away, but there's so many rows it's not crowded at all.
We were sent down our very own row to fill up our containers!
We start at a flag, pick toward the end of the row, and place the flag where we finish so they know to send others to pick up where we leave off.
In order to help the farm make U-Pick successful and prolong the strawberry harvest, make sure to pick ALL the ripe berries in your area so that as little as possible goes to waste.
Mom tip: pick behind the kids. They get excited and miss a lot of good ones.
This was my bowl. All of these strawberries were picked after the kids had "picked everything" and "nothing was left".
We made really good time! In less than 30 minutes, we managed to pick 19 pounds of fresh, juicy, delicious Hood Strawberries.
We eat as many as we can fresh, but right when we get home, I start processing them to save. We love to eat them frozen. By themselves, they are like strawberry popsicles. Or, we put them in smoothies with milk, other fruit, and maybe a touch of honey.
We'll probably be back to pick weekly while they last. We just keep freezing them so that we can have fresh berries throughout the season.
I'm sure there are other ways, but this is how I freeze our strawberries.
1) Soak them in water and rinse thouroughly
2) Cut out the stems, leaving them whole
3) Place on towels, and pay dry (ish, I mean they are fresh and juicy, but I try to soak up the extra water)
4) Place them on a baking tray in a single layer then freeze for an hour
5) Pack them in freezer gallon bags
I hope you have the pleasure of tasting the amazing strawberries straight from the patch! If you can't make it out to pick them yourself, stop by a local farm stand or farmers market for one of my favorite things about Oregon!