I didn't go raspberry picking once this summer. Or strawberry picking either. Gross oversight? No. I just don't love picking berries in the heat of July and August when I can wait until the perfect days of September and October to get out into the fields and really enjoy myself. At one of my favourite local hot-spots, Cooper's Farm, the berries are grown under high tunnels. High tunnels allow the plants to receive lots of sunshine but shields the plants from rain and other elements that can sometimes affect them. This makes for very healthy plants with tons (and I'm not exaggerating) of berries. As I was picking berries there last week, I kept thinking, "I've died and gone to raspberry heaven."
Here are a few of the reasons I think picking berries in the fall is so great....
- The raspberries are big, sweet, and there are lots of them. Same goes for the strawberries. In fact, I think the fall strawberries are sweeter than the early summer ones.
- There are way fewer people that you are competing with for the best rows.
- If you are under high tunnels, you can comfortably pick berries while it's raining.
- Fall is a much more civilized time of year to be making jams and jellies.
- The weather is usually glorious. Throw on a pair of jeans and a long sleeved shirt to avoid the scratchy brambles and you'll be perfectly comfortable.
If you can find a farm with berries on, go now and start picking!
Once I get my berries home, I spread a single layer out on a baking sheet and pop the pan in the freezer. After about an hour, I transfer the frozen berries to large ziploc bags and continue until all of my berries have been "IQF" or "individually quick frozen". I LOVE having local raspberries and strawberries in the freezer over the winter. To have enough to last for any time at all, I have to make several trips back to the farm but it is seriously such a pleasure, I don't mind in the least.
Posted by Moira at 1:48 PM