Sunday, June 19, 2011

strawberry season begins

It is finally here! U-pick strawberries begin tomorrow morning at 7 a.m. There are usually cars lined up waiting to get in by around 6:30, and always customers waiting for me by the time I get to the stand by 6:45. The next two weeks will be pretty intense for us, with hundreds of phone calls and customers a day. The store selling already picked fruit is open from 9-6, and we also sell produce and baked goods. Unfortunately, the strawberries do not look good this year. My husband says that this is the worst looking crop he has ever seen, and he is usually an optimist. The weather was cold, the berries did not set well, and neither plants or berries are as big as usual. They will still taste delicious, but I am worried that our customers will be disappointed. We usually have big, beautiful berries, and bushy shiny green plants that look healthy and vigorous. Not so this year, and I know we will have lots of comments about this fact! I hope people understand that we have done our best, and that hopefully next year will be better. In other words, don't give up on us!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Happy strawberry eater

newly planted strawberries
 Strawberry season is here! U-picks begin on Monday, and we are already selling picked berries at our store. My mouth is sore from eating strawberries! The first berries are in the freezer, and next week begins the work of making jam, fruit leather, and strawberry sauce to top pancakes during the winter. I also want to make strawberry granita this year, and roasted strawberries in balsamic vinegar. We will see if that actually happens or not1

Friday, June 10, 2011

The pretty and the crazy!

I have shared pictures of the beautiful garden, the lovely fruit trees laden with fruit, and the pasture  bathed in evening's golden sunlight. What I am unable to convey with pictures is the craziness that sometimes characterizes our days. However, I can recount the craziness via words, and even admit that the crazy days are the spice of life, and end up being really good stories some time down the line. Like the day in June 2007, which began with me in the bathroom fixing my hair. At that time, I used a brush style curling iron to style my hair. I was just about done and ready to go have a first cup of coffee when my cell phone rang. It was my employee. "Mrs. Fordyce, a customer just threw up all over the chairs and tables here at the u-pick tent!" I assured her I would be right there to help her clean it up, even though I wanted to run screaming. In my vanity, I decided to finish styling my hair before cleaning the vomit, but in my hurry I got the curling iron stuck in my hair. Like up to the top of my hairline,can't get the thing to budge stuck. I start to frantically try to untangle it, to no avail. Then, my phone rings again. My other employee to tell me that the store is locked and she is out of quarters. I assure her I will be right there, and go back to picking at my hair. Then, the doorbell rings. I know who this is, because my calendar clearly states that the man from the USDA who checks our scales every year will be gracing us with his presence sometime that morning. Since there is no earthly way I am going to open the door to the USDA man with a curling iron stuck in my hair (with the long black cord bapping around behind me as I walk) I do what any frenzied woman would, and cut my hair. Just chopped that big chink right off, thereby freeing the offending curling iron. As I ran to the door, I glanced at the clock. Only 7:05 a.m. The good news is that as I was talking to the USDA man, the farmer walked by with a bucket, a shovel, a roll of paper towels, and a jug of bleach. My day probably wasn't as bad as the day of the customer who vomited on the tables and chair. She threw up because she had gorged herself on strawberries as she picked, and, as she vomited, lost control of other bodily functions as well. Just another day in the life of a farmer's wife!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Growing things!

Little green blueberries!

and raspberries

Kotata blackberries

Row of lovely potatoes. The farmer planted lots of fun varieties, including fingerlings and Yukon Golds

One ripe strawberry! This made the best dessert!

The apple trees are loaded! These are Wenatchee Earlys

The quince trees are also loaded!

Although most of the plums did not pollinate, one variety did well, and the trees are loaded!

Well, most of them are. This is the only plum on this tree!
I love walking around the farm after dinner and seeing how the various crops are coming along. After such a cold, rainy spring it is especially nice to see things growing and ripening. I usually don't take my camera, but tonight I thought it would be fun to record the progress! The strawberries are almost ready, everything else is about a month or six weeks away from being ripe. I see a lot of canning, freezing, and dehydrating in my future!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

roses and green strawberries

All of my lovely rose bushes are almost in full bloom. The bushes are covered with swelling buds, and I am getting enough flowers for some pretty little bouquets. Love these sweet, old fashioned roses, with their wonderful smell and lovely colors. We also have green strawberries, and tonight Estelle combed the field and found one big, juicy, ripe strawberry. The dear girl brought it in to share with the rest of us, and we each got a dear little bite. Pure heaven! I would of taken a picture of the season's first berry, but I was in the middle of winning a pinochle game. We hope to begin u-picking on the 17th, and I have been gathering jam containers and washing the dehydrator (I make a ton of fruit leather each summer) in preparation for fruit season. Bring on the berries, I am ready for shortcake with lashings of freshly whipped creme for breakfast!