Our kids LOVE picking fruit at the local farms that we are lucky enough to have up and down the shoreline. We’re just getting in to PYO (Pick Your Own) season and strawberries are first up!! Strawberry picking is a great spring and early summer activity for the whole family. We’ve put together a list of places to go, tips & tricks to getting the best berries and a couple recipes (cocktails included) to make the most of your pick your own strawberries experience!

Be sure to call ahead to make sure the Pick Your Own fields are open on the day you want to go….

PICK YOUR OWN
Scott’s Yankee Farmer – 436 Boston Post Road Route 1, East Lyme, CT 06333.
Phone: 860-739-5209.

Lyman Orchards – Jct. Routes 147 and 157, Middlefield, CT 06455.
Phone: (860) 349-1793.
Strawberry Festival June 15th (8am – 3pm) Live music, strawberry shortcakes and ice cream, activities for kids and adults, giveaways, horse-drawn wagon rides, Frisbee golf and strawberry picking.

Scott’s Farm and Greenhouses – 81 Plains Road, Route 153, Essex, CT 06426.
Phone: 860-767-7059.

Bishop’s Orchards – 1355 Boston Post Road (US Rte 1, I-95 Exit 57), Guilford, CT 06437.
Phone: (203) 458-7425.

Rose Orchards – 33 Route 139, North Branford, CT 06471.
Phone: 203-488-7996.

To be prepared for your strawberry picking day, bring enough water, wear a hat and lather up in sunscreen to prevent your skin from getting burned. Most places have buckets or bags to use for gathering your loot, but you can also bring along your own reusable plastic containers. Be warned, these are delicate little “gems” so plastic bags might not be the best option for little people who sometimes down know their own strength. We’d be lying if we said we’ve never had kids smash fruit in a bag and then pretend they cut themselves.
Here are some more tips & tricks….

• Try it on a weekday if you can to avoid the crowds. If weekdays are possible, try to arrive early. This will also help ensure that it’s not too hot.
• Wear a hat or later up in sunscreen or you’ll end up leaving the strawberry patch looking like, well, a strawberry.
• Bring water and stay hydrated! The strawberry patches get hot so it’s important to have water for you and little ones.
• Don’t wear clothes you don’t want stained. Little fingers (and big fingers for that matter) will leave a berry picking day with fingers the look like they were just finger painting. We’d also avoid anything white.
• Look for bright, red berries. Unlike some fruits that continue to ripen once they are picked, strawberries stop ripening once they are removed from the plant. If you want the sweetest taste, be sure to look for bright, red berries. The orangey-red with white pieces won’t taste sweet and can actually be a little tart or sour tasting.
• Pinch & Pull – this is the best way to avoid smashing and squashing the berries. Pinch the stem just above the berry and hold it between your forefinger and thumb. With a short firm tug pull the berry off. If you grab only strawberry itself, you’ll likely press too hard on the fruit and/or pull the berry completely off the stem.
• Size doesn’t matter here (we may or may not have just giggle like a 13 year old writing that). You may think that larger berries have more juice and are therefore sweeter, but when it comes to strawberries, size doesn’t matter. In fact, the smaller the berries, the sweeter they are!

Fresh picked strawberries will only last in the fridge for a few days – so eat them up! If you won’t eat them in time you can also freeze them – just be sure they’ve been washed and air dried to avoid freezer burn.

The best way to enjoy fresh picked berries is by the handful or with a pile of whipped cream! However, here are some other great recipes that we love!

Strawberry Shortcake – this is easy and DELISH!! If you haven’t tried homemade strawberry shortcake, you have to!

Strawberry Muffins – who doesn’t love an Ina recipe and this one is no different. We make these all summer long and the kids adore them!

 

 

 

 

Of course…the Shoreline Moms LOVE a good cocktail and this one is a must try!!

Strawberry Bourbon Lemonade:
4 strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced, plus more for garnish
2 fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
6 ounces lemonade
8 ounces bourbon
2 ounces agave nectar

Muddle the strawberries in a Mason jar shaker. Slap the basil between the palms of your hands to release the oils and add to the shaker along with the lemonade, bourbon and agave nectar. Add ice cubes. Shake and strain in to 2 glasses filled with ice, garnish with lemon zest and fresh strawberries. Cheers!!!

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