The first of the summer fruit has just arrived, strawberries. They are so sweet, delicious and easy to pick. In our house strawberries bring special memories. As soon as our children could walk I had them out in the fields picking strawberries with me. Quietly and carefully we would squat down and peek under the lush green leaves for the hidden strawberries. A quick inspection would tell us if it was red enough and unblemished so we could put it in our little basket. We couldn’t wait to get home to start eating our delicious treasure. It was always a challenge to hide enough strawberries to make that very first Strawberry Rhubarb Pie of the season.
My Grandmother, Troy Fowler grew her own strawberries in Texas. When we would go visit she would always have jars of strawberry jam that she would serve with her homemade biscuits. Some years if she had enough strawberries she would send us jars of strawberry jam at Christmas. What a delicious gift that was in December.
When Tom and I started our pie business we picked the strawberries ourselves or our three children would pick them. We would go up to Ochs Orchard or drop the kids off for a couple of hours to pick. At that point we were still a home based business and we sold our pies from a table in front of our farm on Saturdays and Sundays. As our business grew we had to get them already picked from Ochs. Even now whenever we can slip out of the bakery for a couple of hours we go up to the orchard to pick fruit. It is so beautiful there and yes it’s a bit of work yet it makes us feel even more connected to our pies.
Once the strawberries are back to the bakery we have to use them all within 48 hours. We wash them and then cut the green tops off. The tops go to our chickens, of course. If any of the strawberries are extra large we will cut them in half, otherwise we use them whole. We use our fresh strawberries to make either Strawberry Pie, Strawberry Rhubarb Pie and occasionally we will get a request for Strawberry Cream pie.
If you live near a farm that grows strawberries you might want to get out there and pick! It’s so rewarding to take home your hard work and just eat them or make a pie!