Saturday, June 21, 2008

Fruits of Our Labor

Look at this gorgeous loot!


Mom and I have talked about berry-picking in Watsonville for 4 years. Something always prevents us, the season passes and we miss it. Well, yesterday we FINALLY went. It's been more than 10 years since I've picked berries, so I was excited.

I only have 'after' pictures because I forgot my camera; I'm disappointed in myself because the scenery and fruit vines were beautiful and I wish I had it documented. Hopefully this is the last time I forget my camera on such an outing.

Watsonville is about 1 hour from my parents home, 30 minutes south of Santa Cruz on the coast. It's in a valley where lots of fruits and vegetables are grown. If you don't live in California, you may not have heard of Watsonville, but you may be familiar with its neighbor, Salinas. Martinelli's Apple Cider is based here, as is Driscoll's Strawberries.

We visited Gizdich Farm, where olallieberries and strawberries are currently in season. Olallies are a cross between a loganberry and a youngberry, made in the 1930s in Oregon. They are pretty rare and their season is short, so I felt very fortunate. We spent an hour at the olallieberry patch, and another with the strawberries.

It's hard work picking fruit! I did a 1-hour workout beforehand, but I feel like I did double-days. I'm sore and I know it wasn't from the first workout.

By 11 it was HOT and we had filled our baskets, so Mom and I returned home. I picked some apricots from the family's tree before going home with my loot.


Here is a close-up of an olallieberry. They look a lot like blackberries, but the seeds are smaller and the flavor is more delicate.


Once everything was on the counter, I realized we had too much to eat before it spoils.


So...freeze them!
I put a single layer of olallieberries on a baking pan to freeze, then repeated with the strawberries. If you freeze them flat FIRST, the berries will hold their shape while frozen instead of becoming a mushy mass. After about an hour on the baking pan, you can transfer them to a freezer bag. Voila!- perfect summer fruit long after the season is over.


~
I only have 'after' pictures because I forgot my camera; I'm disappointed in myself because the scenery and fruit vines were beautiful and I wish I had it documented. Hopefully this is the last time I forget my camera on such an outing.

But, I did take quite a few at home. I really like pictures of fruit, I'm not sure why.






baby strawberry ;-)

3 comments:

VeggieGirl said...

Gorgeous, indeed - especially the baby strawberry :0)

Erica said...

How fun! Good for you and your mama!

Disha said...

I picked out some Olallieberries myself today near Half Moon Bay. I was online looking for some recipes to use the fruit, when I stumbled upon your blog. Any recommendations on where best to use these berries (I've never used them before)? I don't have the time or inclination for elaborate cooking, but enjoy trying fun, quick new recipes. Any recommendations would be awesome!