April 12, 2012

Pick-Your-Own Strawberries

There's a time of year when it feels like you can't travel very far around here without running into a strawberry stand.

I love that.

Lately the weather has been so gray, though, that I had forgotten we were at the start of strawberry season - until Tammy Hansen's story on new ideas for cooking with strawberries reminded me.

She even mentions one of my favorite places: Saevang Strawberry Farm in Lockeford.

We visited for the first time last year, and it was such a good day. The kind of quiet fun that creeps up on you, and on the way back home, you sigh and think, "Oh, wow. That was pretty great."

Saevang Farm, at the corner of Highway 88 and Brandt Road, sells bunches of vegetables and baskets of pre-picked berries. But you can also walk up to the stand and ask to pick your own - and I think you should.

There isn't an entrance fee - you pay for what you pick: A pint-sized basket is $2, a medium bucket (2-3 pints) is $4, and a large bucket (6-8 pints) is $10-$12. I have to tell you, a bucket of berries is an awful lot of berries. More than I anticipated and almost more than I could figure out what to do with. But really good.

Pick-your-own hours are from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., seven days a week, but the farm recommends coming in the morning when it's cooler. Because of the late rain, the U-pick field isn't opening until April 30.

Last year, Alice was about 16-months-old when we visited. We  parked her in the dirt between rows and quickly gave up trying to keep her from eating berries right off the plants. I know, I know. But they don't spray pesticides, and she was just so happy. (And so quick).
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