Let those kids pick their own food, they'll love it
The U-Pick Strawberries event in Plant City on Saturday is a charity benefit where everybody wins. Wish Farms is opening up its fields for its popular annual U-Pick day. Food banks can pick for free if they bring their own containers, and the rest of us can get a whole flat of strawberries for only $4. (A flat of strawberries contains 8 quarts and weighs about 12 pounds) You just have to pick the berries yourself Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Proceeds benefit the Redlands Christian Migrant Association. It’s at 2600 Sparkman Road, Plant City. Call (813) 752-5111.
I took my kids to a u-pick a couple of years ago and it was great. Wear hats and sunscreen and don't overdo it or your back will be killing you the next day. Luckily they didn't weigh us before and after the picking or we probably would have owed them some more. My kids' berry-stained faces likely gave us away.
So what do you do with your bounty? After you've had your full, hull and clean the berries and set them out on a cookie sheet to get nice and dry. Put that cookie sheet in the freezer for a bit to harden them up and then put them into gallon freezer bags. You then have a handy source for smoothies, daquiries and strawberry milk shakes.
My favorite use of the strawberry harvest is this Strawberry Walnut Bread. The best part of this recipe is it makes 2 loaves, one to keep and one to share.
Recipe via Sweetnicks
(makes 2 loaves)
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, beaten
1-1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups fresh chopped strawberries
1 cup chopped walnuts
In large bowl, combine first 5 ingredients. Add egg and oil; mix well. Stir in berries and nuts until evenly distributed - batter will be thick. Grease and flour two 9" loaf pans and divide batter evenly into each. Bake at 350 approx. 1 hour. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Invert onto wire rack to cool completely.
And if you want to learn more about Wish Farms, read this great story by our colleague Lane DeGregory who did a wonderfully well written look at the perilous state of strawberry farming in this state. Wish Farms is featured prominently.
--Sharon Kennedy Wynne
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