Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Strawberry Game-Changer

It's Strawberry Fever around here with the 13,500 Strawberry plants we planted 12 weeks ago fruiting in all of their anticipatory glory. Most impressive are the Sweet Anne's, those huge delicious morsels pictured above. They are quite spectacular. I photographed them in a line above our other traditional varieties - the Cambridge Rivals, Hokowase and Kunowase -so you can see just how they compare in size. 

After we gorged ourselves senseless on them in the first week we decided we needed to get serious about the Strawberries so embarked on making jam. A lot of jam. This lead to thinking about selling the Strawberries and the jam at some markets as well as opening our farm up to some pick-your-own berry activity prior to the building being finished (or started for that matter but let's not go there right now).  

So last Sunday we invited some friends over for a few hours of pick-your-own fun as a bit of a practice run and to celebrate this new venture we've embarked upon.  I only put the call out on my personal facebook page but ended up getting 70 friends through the gates and the 12-3pm time-slot quickly went out the door and we finished up the day well after 9pm.  It was all a rip-roaring success and I'm so grateful for the support of our friends for making it such a special day.

The following day I dropped off some punnets to a couple of people at school who couldn't make it and ended up leaving the school with more orders for the following day. Soon word got around and I've been run off my feet keeping up with demand. I've been up at the crack of dawn picking strawberries and then trading them at the school gate at drop-off and pick-up time like a naughty school kid trading illicit substances. I've suddenly found myself working well in advance of the March time-frame I was mentally working towards.

It has been fantastic though. The Strawberries have been a game-changer in 2 respects. Firstly, for the first time in 10 years I'm bouncing getting out of bed without the need for 2 strong lattes and the cries of the offspring searching for a school top. I now only need 1 cup and am getting out of bed quite cheerfully. Naomi Campbell may not get out of bed for $10,000 but I'm more than happy to do it for a punnet of Strawberries. Things may look a little different by the end of the season but for now it's cheerful Mel in the mornings with a marginally sore back by evening but who has no trouble sleeping anymore. Secondly, I'm baking again. The 30 year old oven went kaputt last Summer and every baking episode since has been an epic disaster. The new oven was installed this week and I've made 3 Pavlovas in 3 days, the one above was tonight's dessert. Daniel is thrilled beyond measure. It's been a Strawberry Game-Changer.

A few other exciting things have happened this week like meeting fellow bloggers Stacey and Rachel in real life. What a treat. More about that next time.

PS. I almost forgot, Congratulations to CJ who won the little giveaway in my last Post!