Saturday, March 26, 2011

Picking Stawberries at Kings Orchard

We had planned to go camping this weekend, but on Wednesday I got an email saying there were bumper crops of ripe juicy red strawberries for the picking. And that sounded like an awful lot of fun... We had never picked our own anything before, but I had heard alot of positive comments about Kings Orchard from friends saying that their kids loved picking fresh fruit in particular out of their gardens. I wasn't exactly sure what to expect when we arrived. As we turned into the gates the parking lot was about half full and there were streams of people heading into the main building. Assuming they knew what they were doing we followed along. The helpful and friendly staff spotted us the second we walked in and pointed us to the picking baskets and told us about the process. We grabbed to baskets and headed out the door to the fields. As we neared the Strawberry patch there were rows and rows of Strawberry plants. We headed towards the middle on two rows that were empty of other pickers. Even though the end closest to where everyone starts had obviously been picked over and were mainly baby strawberries left it was easy to spot the ripe red strawberries peeking out around the green foliage. The boys were super excited and wanted to pick them all. Connor smushed his first strawberry and made quite a mess trying to get it off the stem. I showed him how to pull them so they wouldn't be smushed and after a few attempts he had it down pretty well. We made our way down the row picking 1 - 1 1/2 inch strawberries that Connor called "mommy" strawberries and teeny tiny little bite sized ones for the boys. Ryan and Kevin on the next row over were delighting in picking the biggest and most unusual shaped strawberries. Every time Ryan would find one he would yell and tell us to "LOOK at THIS ONE!!" The further down the aisle we got the larger the strawberries became. Luckily Connor and I had been pacing ourselves and had plenty of room in the basket for some of the nice big ones. When we got to the end of our aisles we compared baskets. Kevin and Ryan had picked quite a few more including more than half a dozen of the oddest shaped strawberries I had ever seen making mine and Connor's gig 'em pale in comparison. So we sent Kevin and Ryan on to get our wagon as Connor and I came along a bit slower and picked some more strawberries down another row. We loaded up our wagon and headed back to the weigh station with Kevin adamantly insisting that we had picked way more than them. The boys alternated riding on Kevin's shoulders and merrily pulling the wagon along. They were super proud of their strawberries and couldn't wait to eat some. We took our boxes in and had them weighed. Connor's came in at 1.70 lbs (including the box weight), and Ryan's came in at 1.72. It was amazing just how close we came. With the strawberries paid for we sorted through them and picked out the ones that needed to be eaten now (mostly Kevin and Ryan's smushed ones :)) and the ones that we would take home. Using the outdoor sink we rinsed our berries and headed towards the picnic tables where dozens of other folks were gathered round huge tables (they seated probably about 40 each) and sat down to devour our fresh picked treats along with some nilla wafers and juice. It was as perfect end to a wonderful adventure.

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