Monday, July 15, 2013

Strawberry Picking in Wisconsin

I live in a neighborhood that was known as Berryville which is located near the shores of Lake Michigan, Somers Township, Kenosha County, Wisconsin.  Whew...that was a long description!  It was a small community of about 300 small family farmers that were very successful growing strawberries on our sandy soil.  In the late 1800's and early 1900's thousands and thousands of berries were picked, brought to the railroad a half mile away and shipped to the Milwaukee and Chicago markets.  My neighbor, after retirement, decided to resurrect the area's claim to fame and he established Berryville Farm.  Every year, usually during the first several weeks in June, people from all over come to Berryville Farm for June bearing strawberries.

My neighbor, his wife, and son commit 24/7 to strawberries in early June.  In this photo above, Berryville Farm proudly displays two awards presented by the Kenosha Farmers Market for "the heaviest strawberry" and the "the tastiest strawberry".  Norm is very particular about selecting the very best strawberry types which produce the best berry for his customers.  Strawberries in Wisconsin are the best!

This is a BIG field of strawberries!
Why the orange flag?  If you pick in that particular row, you place the orange marker at the place you left off.  That tells the next picker where they can begin picking.  Clever?  Yes. 

Straw is placed in-between the berry rows as it reduces weeds but it also keeps the berries clean from dirt.  Most important for all of us pickers, the straw is soft and keeps our knees free of dirt while we bend and pick, bend and pick, bend and pick!  O-o-o-o-o my back!  Yes, you can buy pre-picked berries but then you could not snack as you pick!  Poor Norm, I am sure I ate some of his profits! 


I will remove the green leaves and place each berry on a cookie sheet, whole.  In the freezer they go until they are totally frozen.  I then place berries in zip lock bags and during the winter I have fresh berries for smoothies or strawberry desserts. 


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