Last week on an impulse, Jimmy and I headed out to Pungo, the rural section of Virginia Beach, to go strawberry picking!
I just love getting out in the fields and picking my own fruits or vegetables. Eating local, seasonal produce is the best way to get the freshest, best tasting food available. I’m yanking the food out of the ground or off the vine and popping it right in my mouth. A warm strawberry from the field, red all the way to the center, is a totally sensual experience. I almost always close my eyes and just savor it. Fruit eaten close to its source is truly a treasure. If you can ever eat tropical fruit (mango, papaya, pineapple, bananas) while actually in the tropics, please do it. You will not even recognize the food you’re eating. Jimmy and I discovered this in Belize.
Eating locally and seasonally is also a great way to be “green” since you’re not having food shipped from somewhere else, which reduces your carbon footprint. It’s also an important way to support your local economy. Your dollars are going straight into the pockets of small businesses (farmers) right in your town. So every year I consult the Pick Your Own site to scout out places to find fresh, local produce and new farm treasures.
Pick your own
We headed out to Flanagan Farm to grab strawberries the other evening after work, since they are open 7-7 daily. They have a cute little roadside stand with other local goodies like sugar snap peas, honey made from those beehives you see in the pictures, chow chow, greens, cabbages, and more. We picked several pounds of strawberries and walked around the fields. The bees were friendly and seemed quite happy pollenating all the nearby plants. A small garden of garlic was going at the back of the strawberry field, some of the scapes were calling to me and I had a hard time not grabbing them, ha.
Preserving the harvest
This year is going to be my first foray into canning and “putting up” food, and I’m really excited about it. I’m grabbing some vanilla beans this week and I plan to make this Strawberry Jam recipe from Food in Jars, my favorite canning blog. At Christmas, Jimmy’s great grandmother gave me her 22 quart Mirro-Matic pressure cooker that she’s used to can food since the 40s! I am so excited to use it. I bought a new gasket for it last week, and got all my canning supplies. I’ll keep you guys posted on how the canning adventures progress.
Can you can?
Have you put up food before? Any tips for someone new to canning? Favorite recipes? Please share em in the comments!