“Let me take you down, cause I’m going to, Strawberry Fields. Nothing is real – and nothing to get hung about” – Paul McCartney and John Lennon
When you’re in the middle of a strawberry field, nothing is real except the sweet ripe fruit of your labours that you will soon be enjoying! I love having so many strawberry farms in Wake County and in our surrounding counties. Picking your own berries and then immediately eating them – it doesn’t get much better than that! And since many farms in our area are open from mid-April to the first week in June, we can visit them more than once in a season.
The kids and I recently went and picked a bunch of the luscious fruit one beautiful afternoon. We went to Page Farms, which is located right between Raleigh and Durham, off U.S. 70 and behind Brier Creek. In addition to strawberries, this farm also produces and sells corn and sweet potatoes. It offers (literal) field trips to area schools, where kids can take hayrides, meet the farm animals, pick berries and have picnics. There is an ice cream stand on-site as well (might as well plan to stop by it now, parents, if you’re taking kids.) The staff is quite friendly and helpful and I recommend this farm to anyone living in the Raleigh/Durham area.
We came home with three buckets of berries, which, for the most part, were sweet and delicious and oh, so fresh. Those that weren’t as sweet we picked too soon, but that’s okay – just add a little sugar and we’re good to go. We’ve been enjoying our berries on cereal, in yogurt, dipped in chocolate syrup and just plain. With this batch, I made the following treats, some to please the kids, other geared toward adults – all yummy!
Super Easy, Low-fat Strawberry Milkshakes
Mix three ingredients (okay, four if you include the ice), blend and you’re done! It can’t get much easier than that. Guaranteed hugs from the kids and for me a few rounds of “You’re the best Auntie Kelley in the world.” This time I think they actually meant it! Use 1% milk and low-fat ice cream and you don’t have to feel like running to Weight Watchers® for gulping these shakes down. The fresh strawberries make up for the low-fat ingredients, trust me! Click here for this super easy, guilt-free recipe. And feel free to choose whatever flavor of ice cream you prefer – Gabe and Lexi have requested chocolate next time (surprise, surprise).
I recently found the recipe for this amazing tart in Taste of Home Magazine. Thank goodness, because this dessert is divine. I’ve switched a few ingredients to make it a tad bit healthier (click here for my revised version of the recipe.) Whichever version you use, you can’t go wrong. This is pefect to take to a cookout or luncheon.
Charlie Murray Inspired Strawberry Margaritas
I’m sure my dear friend Charlie Murray looked down from heaven and blessed my recipe for these refreshing (and somewhat potent) margaritas. Charlie was the master of the frozen drinks, in particular daiquiris, and he taught me well – all I do is change up some of the ingredients (i.e., the liquor.) These marvelous margaritas are super easy to make and even better to drink, especially on a hot day at the beach or lake or backyard or anywhere. Click here for the oh, so easy recipe. Charlie would be proud. Here’s to you, my friend – I miss you!
Strawberry, Bleu Cheese and Pecan Salad
This salad is refreshing and light, and is wonderful on its own for lunch (add a mimosa if you don’t have to go back to work or pick up kids), or as a nice side salad with roasted chicken, a simple butter and garlic tossed penne pasta or similar light main course. The fresh strawberries add natural sweetness, the pecans add nuttiness, and the bleu cheese adds tang and creaminess to the base of this salad’s field greens. Top it off with a balsamic vinegarette dressing, and you’re in for a treat. Click here for the recipe.
There are so many other ways you can enjoy your harvest – this is just the tip of the iceberg. I see strawberry shortcake, strawberry pie, strawberry smoothies and sangria garnished with strawberries in my next harvest’s array of concoctions.
I’d love to hear your favorites – please send me your recipes. And take advantage of our wonderful strawberry fields or of those in your own area – you’ll be glad you did!
Eat, drink and be merry!