May 242010
 

We’re berried!!!! SOS! Heeelllpp!

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As the heat builds so does the Lord’s blessing on our strawberry harvest! We’re in the middle of harvesting berries (probably will take all day) and  beautiful red ripe, delicious strawberries are coming out of the berry patch faster and faster. We NEED your help using these beautiful tasty strawberries! Eat them fresh, eat ‘em frozen in shakes and ice cream, make strawberry preserves, jams, pies, toppings and our families’ all time favorite… Great Grandpa Mitchell’s strawberry shortcake! (Recipe at the end up this update.)

An unusual “double” berry!

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This is just an estimate, but judging from what we’ve harvested thus far, it looks like today is the peak of berry season. Especially with the heat that seems to have set in, the berries aren’t going to hold so if you want strawberries this year, now is the time!

If the heat continues our berry season will be much shorter than I’d originally thought, the berries appear to be ripening all at once!

The Lord is blessing us with the best strawberry year since I’ve been raising berries! Berry size has decreased a little since we began to harvest due to the heat ripening them before they have a chance to swell to the fullest, but these beautiful berries are packed with flavor! And, you can feel good about eating these berries that have not been treated with any chemicals.

Of course strawberry harvesting requires a lot of bending and stooping to harvest, but G-Jean has been out each time loving every big berry she finds! These berries have been a joy to harvest this year.

G-Jean and I even harvested strawberries in the rain one day last week! While that wasn’t ideal we didn’t want to waste the beautiful berries the Lord has supplied.

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The Lord has blessed us with some wonderful help too as Gracie volunteered to come out and help us with CSA and harvesting strawberries!

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It seems as though that’s all we’re getting done though… Harvest strawberries Monday, Wednesday and Friday and pack CSA shares on Tuesday and Friday! That’s not really the case though – Saturday Dad, Granddad, Pappaw, Jena and I dug out holes to install Mom’s clothesline poles and other days we squeeze in another project or two such as a little foliar feeding in the early morning.

Dad doesn’t plan on Mom’s clothes line poles ever sagging judging from the holes! Our hope was to set both poles in one day, but it took too long to set one by the time we got it lined up in the hole, drilled into the original concrete that had been around the pole originally (in order to insert rebar for the new concrete to bond to) and poured new concrete around it.

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Judging from the weather forecast we saw there would be one day between rains that we could plant sweet potato slips so as soon as our Tuesday evening CSA pick up was finished last week, we got to work! I needed to build up the ridges a little more before planting the sweet potatoes so we harnessed up Belle and Blaze for the first time since the vet floated their teeth. I was very thankful at how well they did. Blaze especially seemed more relaxed than she’d been.

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INVADERS!! Colorado potato beetles have begun showing up in the potato patch. Volunteers are needed to help get rid of these nasty pests! If you have five minutes or five hours to lend a hand, give Farmer Josh a call or email him or just stop by. We’ll give you a few instructions and you can help defeat the foes!

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Better get back out to the berry patch!

Farmer Josh and the berry pickin’ Mitchell crew

 

Mom’s new pup “Ancho” and Cayenne… Think Caye is licking her lips in anticipation of berries?  :  )

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Grandpa Mitchell’s Favorite Strawberry Shortcake
Strawberries:
            1 qt. strawberries stemmed and sliced or quartered and sweetened to taste
Shortcake:
            2 c. all-purpose flour
            2 T. sugar
            1 T. baking powder
            1/2 t. salt
            1/2 c. butter, softened
            1 beaten egg
            2/3 c. milk
Sweetened Cream:
            1 qt. light cream
            1/2 c. sugar
            1 t. vanilla

Sweeten strawberries and set aside

For shortcake, thoroughly stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in the softened butter till mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Combine beaten egg and milk; add all at once to dry ingredients and stir just to moisten. Spread dough in a greased 8” round cake pan. Bake in a 450° oven 15—18 minutes. Cool.

For sweetened cream, stir together light cream, sugar and vanilla.

Serve shortcake cut into wedges with sweetened berries and cream on top.