My Love Affair with Strawberries
It’s Summertime and that means berry season! And to me the most fairest berry of them all is the strawberry! Maybe it was my childhood romance with everything and anything “Strawberry Shortcake” or maybe the fact that I lived in Florida and could go strawberry picking almost year-round. Or maybe I have a strong “genetic predisposition” to loving strawberries: my mother told me a story of when she was 14 and ate so many strawberries one Summer that she broke out in hives! Who knows why, the point is I LOVE STRAWBERRIES!
I’ve already posted recipes for strawberry cake and strawberry cupcakes and after this post be ready for a whole lot more strawberry recipes to come! I am a child of Summer, I just celebrated my birthday, and so I can’t help but celebrate and rejoice in the fruit of the season, and it seems there are a LOT of reasons to celebrate this SUPERFRUIT!
What Are the Health benefits of Strawberries?
I am a pretty consistent watcher of Dr. Oz and The Doctors and it seems the health benefits of strawberries is a potent and long-growing list! Strawberries can reduce your blood pressure, and Dr. Oz suggests eating them after a high-salt or high-fat meal to counterbalance the effects of such indulgences. This antioxidant powerhouse fruit contains Vitamin-C, Folate, Anthocyanin, Quercetin and Kaempferol whicha re Flavinoids that have anti-carcinogenic properties, with recent studies have found to fight cancer and the growth of tumors. Strawberries can increase brain function even as you age because they contain iodine which aids in proper functioning of the brain and nervous system. Strawberries also help fight the free radicals that deteriorate our eyes with age and they contain potassium that helps to relieve the pressure on our eyes. Throw in the help with arthritis, gout, heart disease and the common cold and you have a lot of reasons to be noshing on these berries all Summer long!
Why You Need to Take a Family Trip to a U-Pick Strawberry Farm
Like I’ve mentioned before, the only fruit Kysen eats is bananas. We decided to take a trip to Swanton Berry Farms on highway 1 in Northern California, about 8 miles north of Santa Cruz. If you are ever in the Bay Area I highly recommend this particular strawberry farm as they are ORGANIC, on beautifully kept grounds and you are literally picking berries on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean–it doesn’t get any better than that!
With Kysen’s cousins excitedly skipping and picking through the rows and rows of strawberries and sampling as they picked, it was no surprise that he actually tried and SWALLOWED a bite of strawberry! That by itself was SO worth the trip! The price for the berries is unbeatable too, we collected nearly 8 pints of organic strawberries and paid only $11! Factor in the gas and distance and we probably paid just as much as we would have at the store but we have wonderful memories to boot!
Taking time to plan a family berry picking trip is such a wonderful way to expose your children to the way food and produce is grown. Even I learned something new on this family trip when I started to examine the beautiful little strawberry blossoms dotting the bushes. The strawberries actually form in the middle of these flowers and as the berry grows the white petals fall off and boom there is the finished berry! SO COOL!
Family berry picking is a great way to enrich your kids with a hands-on and relevant experience. They see how the plants are arranged and planted, how the fruits grow, they see the various stages of the berries, and have fun picking them at the same time. They also can realize that every pint of strawberries purchased at the store has to be grown by a farmer and picked by laborers–both great conversations to have about farming and labor.
While a 2-year-old will have a WAY different experience than older kids it’s still a great activity for kids of any age–Kysen had a ton of fun picking the berries and was happy that his plant-picking skills, that we usually try to harness, were allowed to be used to their maximum capacity!