Strawberry U-Pick: Learning and Making Memories
In February in Florida, it is Strawberry Season! There is even a Strawberry Festival to celebrate and you can go on rides, see concerts, and pretty much buy anything strawberry or strawberry related. Imagine your state fair but have everything centered around strawberries. It is a big deal in our area.
Last year was the first year my family and I learned about U-pick produce. It is usually at the end of the season; some farms will open up their land to the public and let them pick their own produce. The best part is you get it for a fraction of the cost. The consumer gets a wonderful discount and the farmer gets to make a little bit more on a crop that is about to go bad.
Some of you might be wondering why you would want to go pick produce that is about to spoil. The fruit will be good for a few days at your house but if buy in bulk, you can freeze it and use it for later. Frozen strawberries make awesome milkshakes and smoothies. I don't know how to make preserves or jam but I think that sounds amazing too! Anyone know of any good recipes?
Another added bonus to U-pick is your kids and you get to be out in nature and enjoy fresh air and sunshine. My sons love pretending to be farmers while they are out in the field. It is a great opportunity to spend time with your children and have them learn what it takes to be a farmer. Explain to them that the plant starts as a seed and grows into a plant with a flower than buds into a strawberry.
My sons sing "Old Mac(insert your child's name) Had a Farm" and we get to count how many strawberries we collect. With my youngest, I point out different things on the farm and ask him what colors they are.
We collected about 7 quarts of strawberries and paid less than five dollars. We also were able to buy some strawberry onions. They are super sweet and they are humongous! It's weird to think that an onion and strawberry can share the same soil but it works wonders down here in Florida.
Not only can you make memories with your own children, but invite along nieces and nephews who live near you. My niece and sister-in-law were on the way to the Strawberry Festival and we invited them to come U-pick with us. Instead of eating sweets, getting a chance to go on rides or play games my niece decided to come with us. And we all had a great time!
What are some U-pick produce in your area? Are there any festivals that celebrate the crop like our Strawberry Festival? I would love to hear your stories and see what other U-pick is available in other areas.