Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sparkle Strawberries

Strawberries have always been part of our gardens.  A dead ripe berry picked in the middle of a sunny afternoon has a smell and a taste that is beyond description.  We grow a variety named Sparkle.  This mid season berry is much too tender to survive shipment in commercial trade.  Its place is in the home garden.  Twelve plants grow under cover in a 40 by 60 inch rectangle.  These plants purchased last year are allowed to set a few new plants via runners.  The daughter plants will be moved to another spot in the garden.  In about three years berry size will begin to diminish and new plants will be purchased to start the cycle again.

Our 24 plants yielded a quart of berries this morning.  Some were part of breakfast with the rest sent to the freezer.  A nearby dairy farm sells berries like these for $3.00 per quart.  The work invested to produce one quart of berries is considerable.  It makes no sense for us to grow our own when we can purchase local berries so inexpensively.  Three quarts of purchased berries will make one batch of freezer jam.  Frozen berries and jam will keep summer alive for the entire year.  Actually we like to have it both ways.  Purchased berries are great for freezing, but nothing can match  the flavor of those berries freshly picked from the garden!


petka said...

Yummy yummy :-)

Daphne said...

I grow Sparkle too, but I've been liking Earliglow better as they don't rot as easily. Of course Sparkle extends the season from the early one which is nice.

The Gardening Shoe said...

You're so right - nothing can match the flavour and nothing can match the scent of sun-warmed strawberries. Sparkle looks superb!

Ed said...

We are frequently hit with late frosts. Early strawberries here might miss a crop some years. An occasional rotten berry does add a unique experience to the picking process. The brown spot is often only on the bottom so the squish comes as a surprise.

Kimberley said...

Oh my gosh, I haven't heard about Sparkle strawberries in years! My grandfather spent much of his life working on a produce farm in Western New York, and we would always travel there in late June, just after school let out.

The farm was much more organized and well run than any I see today. There were many varieties of strawberries, and every section was actually labeled (gasp!). There were attendants in the fields to guide people to rows that had not yet been picked over. There was straw between the rows. People knew how to pick a row clean.

Anyway, Sparkles were our favorite, and I've missed being able to get them!

And let me tell you how wonderful our car smelled on the way back home to Bainbridge (Chenango County), with 20-odd quarts of freshly picked berries in the back!

Thanks for sending me on such a nice trip down Memory Lane!

Anonymous said...

We went strawberry crazy this year after missing many seasons the past few years. We drove up to Penn Yan, and picked quarts for 1.75. Yup we made more than one trip. Lots of jam and lots in the freezer.