Wednesday, June 20, 2012
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!