Ahh, those luscious red berries kissed by the sun. I picked lots this weekend, and then we gorged on them having our traditional strawberry shortcake dinner. Yup, strawberry shortcake for dinner and nothing else. I got this idea when the kids were little--a great reward for the picking--all the dessert you can eat. Some carbs, some fat, some vitamin C laden fruit. Who could ask for better?
In just over a half-hour of preparation, the buttermilk biscuits are baked, the cream whipped, and the berries smashed. Now that Thomas and Meredith are no longer around, Bill and I still enjoy this annual feast, but I won't tell you how many servings of strawberry shortcake each of us consumes at one sitting!
I have picked strawberries for as long as I can remember. My mother, sister, and I would go out to Baker's Farm, on Baker Hill, a farm community just off of Saratoga Lake. I didn't like picking; I was young, and I was slow. My mother picked the most, and my sister was almost as fast. To me it was a laborious morning, improved only with the promise of future earnings.
At home, my mother determined how many quarts we needed for the family and how many we could sell. My sister and I put the designated quart containers in our red wagon and trundled across the street to visit our elderly neighbors. We charged slightly more for the berries than we had paid, and the neighbors were thrilled to get them fresh-picked at a reasonable price, often adding in a tip. My mother settled the tally when we returned to the house--a neutral party between my sister who picked more of the berries, and me, who expected an even share of the profit!
When my kids were at home, we made regular pilgrimages for pick-your-own strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. Now, my friend Linda is my usual picking companion, although I have sometimes coerced my husband to join me, or still now-and-then have the company of Meredith and my daughter-in-law, Marlie, if they are visiting.
Despite tonight's strawberry bacchanal, there are still plenty of berries in the refrigerator, enough for a dish at breakfast and a dish for dessert in the evening for a few days. Then it will be time to revisit the berry farm!
(For those of you who are local, I go to Altamont Orchards.)