Between the gorgeous weather this week and swapping out the old laptop for a new one, there hasn’t been much time to spend writing this week. I keep asking myself, “how’d it get to be Friday again?” A better question is “how’d it get to be strawberry season?” With the cooler start to spring I had thought 4th of July weekend before we’d see ripe strawberries. But with reports from both the St. Paul Farmers’ Market and Minnesota Grown, this weekend marks the opening for strawberry picking at many sites around the state.
Pick-your-own strawberries are a memory in nearly every summer of my life. Growing up I went with my grandma, who is always in the line of cars waiting for the patch to open at 7 AM. I’d sit down in the row, watch her carefully pick the largest, ripe berries while sneaking as many in my mouth as I could. Summers home from college I’d trudge out with the kitchen partner and his family, sometimes picking over 100 pounds in a morning. Now we have our own yearly outing, bringing back 60-70 pounds of berries for pies, jam, and of course, fresh eating. For the next few weeks, we’ll have fresh strawberries three meals a day and my fingertips will be stained a permanent shade of rosy pink.
Strawberry season is remarkably short, but incredibly abundant in Minnesota. When it begins this week, venture out to a pick-your-own patch and start making your own strawberry memories. Bake a pie or shortcakes topped with local whipped cream. Grab some spinach at the farmers’ market this weekend and toss it with berries and a vinaigrette for an easy salad. Drop a few in a glass of local white wine. I think I feel another recipe series coming ahead…
Here’s a few berry patches near the Metro with contact information. It’s always best to call ahead for picking information
Pine Tree Apple Orchard
White Bear Lake, MN
Afton Apple Orchards
Need more info? Check out the Minnesota Grown Strawberry Quicklink!