Where to Get the Freshest Strawberries
I live in Georgia for many years now, but I never fully appreciated it, until corona hit us and I saw how it handles the pandemic. Southerners are brave people, they took some steps to close and stayed closed for 2 months, but now the sun is out and we are out.
Georgia was one of the first states to allow gyms, beauty salons, barber shops, and even tattoo parlors and bowling alleys to open up. Yes, we can get a tattoo and play some relaxing bowling now! Can you say the same about your state?
My sister lives in California and situation there is totally different. She can go grocery shopping with a mask and get curbside pickup, also with a mask. She can also finally take a walk at the beach, but with a mask on. And when gyms are allowed to open up, she will be able to work out with that same mask on, at all times.
I have been back to my gym, I got manicure and pedicure, and visited my hairdresser last week. And let me just tell you – if I had to wear a mask at the gym, I think I would’ve passed out from lack of oxygen! Gladly, I live here, where we are brave, and masks are optional, except for Costco. Walks outside and parks don’t require masks, because we are outdoors, so what could possibly happen?
At the end of last week my kids finished school. It was different, it was sad, it was remote – all the realities of our life. To help them celebrate and have a special day, we decided to go to a strawberry farm. All these years that I live here, I have never been to a strawberry farm. After seeing everybody’s Facebook pictures from such farms, I could wait any longer!
But there was a problem – looming Memorial Day weekend, so on Friday most farms were closed to ripen more berries before the onslaught of Saturday crowds. I called 6 different farms and finally one said they had berries, but they were 2 hours away. Nothing to be done, a promise is a promise, so we drove. I was very interested to see how a rural farm works during COVID-19 time.
Most farms that I saw online had no U-pick berries this year, all had children’s activities suspended, and some didn’t even allow visitors for the rest of this year.
Once we got the farm, we heard cows and smelled them. The farm was dirty to call it mildly. Even though they said they had berries when I called in the morning, after our 2 hour drive, it turned out they don’t have them anymore. I was mad, but they didn’t budge and didn’t let us in the field. Fortunately when a door closes, a window opens, right? I found another farm 30 minutes away and they said they had plenty of berries.
I am actually very glad that the first dirty farm didn’t work out for us, because the second one was beautiful and exceptionally clean. As soon as we got out of the car, all I could smell in the air was strawberries. They didn’t have animals, but they had all you can pick berries and amazing homemade strawberry ice cream, which is what we needed. Friendly employees was also a big plus.
We were given brand new plastic buckets for berries and enjoyed about 30 minutes of picking, that’s all it took. Before we started we were asked to wash our hands in the restroom, which was very clean and pleasant. No masks needed in the fields and none worn by employees. It was a hot day, but with clouds, so kids enjoyed their end of school year celebration without overheating. The enjoyment was even bigger when ice cream time came. It was perfect!
The sign on the field said that dogs are not allowed and that sick people shouldn’t be picking. We didn’t have either one of those and enjoyed the berries. We definitely got too many of them - 23 whole pounds!
Memorial Day weekend might’ve been way busier with hungry for berries crowds, but Friday was perfect, just a few pickers in a huge field, and total piece of mind about getting our immune system boosting fresh vitamins. I don’t know how this farm would survive if it was required to be closed. I am also not sure how farms in other states do so, but I hope everyone will find a way, especially here since Georgia is relaxing limitations faster and wider than many other states.
I understand that not everybody lives in a state where you can readily go to a strawberry patch. Many people don’t have means and time to drive 2 hours on a Friday and spend $100 on berries and ice cream. This is why I am thankful to services like Instacart and Farm Fresh to You. The first one is available everywhere to shop for you and deliver fresh berries and so much more from local grocery stores. Farm Fresh to You is amazing where it’s available – you get boxes of organic berries, fruit, veggies, and dairy products delivered from local farms on your schedule. These two services always offer coupons and are the next best thing for situations when farm visit is simply not in the cards.