It's strawberry season here in Virginia! We drove down to south central Virginia on Saturday and on the way home, stopped at Gallmeyer Farms outside Richmond for our first ever experience of "u-pick" strawberries. I've had plenty of strawberry picking experience, of course, since picking in the garden was a task my sister and I were often given. But this was very different. For one, I actually WANTED to do it! Disgusted by the quality of supermarket berries and newly inspired to eat more locally grown foods, Richie and I have decided to make the most of the fruit growing season here. Next up will be blueberries and then apples in the fall. I'd love to find some cherries too, but that is proving a little more difficult.
The other major difference was that I was free to pick what I liked. I could pass over berries to my heart's content and no one would scold me later for leaving some to rot on the vine or picking some that were not completely ripe yet. So freeing!
Altogether, we picked a little more than 10 pounds of berries. Not bad for about 30 minutes worth of effort! We had strawberry shortcake right away (yum) and then I sorted the rest. A big bowl of not-so-ripe ones are hanging out in the fridge waiting for me to get some canning jars and then turn them into jam (on my agenda for this week) and I froze another four bags to be enjoyed throughout the year.
The primary reason for our drive was to check out a new litter of chocolate lab puppies! It has been over a year now since we said goodbye to your beloved yellow lab Kili and have finally decided that the time is right for another dog. The puppies were adorable and we got to meet the breeder and see both of the parents (the father is an international champion... whatever that means!), who were healthy and very good natured. They were just born on May 2 so still have some more time to spend with their mother before our little one can come home on June 22. More pictures will follow then, but here is a teaser for now!