What’s spring without a basket of strawberries? These sweet yet tart berries are the most popular berry in the Untied States, and Florida is one of the most prolific growers in the country, with an estimated yield of 250 million pounds. Tasty straight off the plant, muddled in cocktails, mixed in with yogurt or cut up in salads, strawberries have endless uses. But for anyone with small children, strawberries not only are a healthy snack but also can be used as an educational tool that supports local growers.
A staple of “U-Pick” farms, going on a walk through the neatly manicured rows of strawberry plants with child in tow is fun to boot. Kids not only get a kick out of filling their pails with freshly picked strawberries, but also parents get the chance to load up on fresh produce for the week while supporting local growers and producers. It also lends an opportunity to teach children where food actually comes from. For those looking to head out for some freshly grown strawberries and produce, the following are our fields of choice:
- Bedner’s Farm Fresh Market in Boynton Beach has been a family tradition since 1960. The family-run farm grows a plethora of produce, including lettuces, peppers, cucumbers, yellow squash, zucchini, white corn, green beans, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, onions, strawberries and tomatoes. U-pick is mainly a strawberry and tomato excursion, depending on season; currently, both strawberry and tomato fields are open. Operating six days a week (closed Tuesday), Bedner’s also has hayrides for the kiddies and operates a fresh market where all their farm fresh produce is offered. Bedner’s Farm Fresh Market, 10066 Lee Rd., Boynton Beach, 33473, 561-733-5490
- An extension of the acclaimed Boys Farmers Market in Delray Beach, The Girls Strawberry U-Pick lets patrons do the picking. Because berries are grown hydroponically, visitors do not have to worry about getting their pants dirty—there is no kneeling. The hydroponic growing technique does not use soil and grows in a vertically integrated system, conserving space and water. After filling containers with ripe berries, sit back and enjoy Grandma’s Garden, where two miniature donkeys, goats, swans and tortoises roam. The Girls Strawberry U-Pick, 14466 S. Military Trl., Delray Beach, 33484, 561-496-0188
Florida Strawberry Tiramisu
Who doesn’t love dessert? For an interesting take on an Italian classic, Chef Justin Timineri offers up a Fresh From Florida recipe for strawberry tiramisu. Though not for children (there is liqueur in the mix), you can at least capitalize on their hard work at the u-pick farm for this ditty and whip some up for you.
Florida Strawberry Tiramisu
- 1 1/2 pounds fresh strawberries
- 1 1/4 cups strawberry preserves
- 1/3 cup plus 4 tablespoons orange liqueur
- 1/3 cup orange juice
- 1 pound Italian mascarpone cheese, room temperature
- 1 1/3 cups heavy whipping cream, chilled
- 1/3 cup natural sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 52 ladyfinger cookies
Whisk preserves, 1/3 cup orange liqueur and orange juice together. Place mascarpone cheese and 2 tablespoons orange liqueur in large bowl; fold just to blend. Using a whisk, beat cream, sugar, vanilla and remaining 2 tablespoons orange liqueur in another large bowl to soft peaks. Stir 1/4 of whipped cream mixture into mascarpone mixture to lighten. Fold in remaining whipped cream a small amount at a time.
Slice half of the strawberries. Spread 1/2 cup preserves mixture over the bottom of a 3-quart serving dish or a 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Arrange enough ladyfingers over strawberry mixture to cover bottom of dish. Spoon 3/4 cup preserves mixture over ladyfingers, then spread 2 1/2 cups mascarpone mixture on top. Arrange 2 cups sliced strawberries over mascarpone mixture. Repeat layering with remaining lady fingers, preserves mixture and mascarpone mixture. Cover with plastic and chill at least 8 hours or overnight.
Slice remaining strawberries. Arrange over tiramisu and serve.
Recipe and strawberry tiramisu image courtesy of Chef Justin Timineri and the Florida Department of Consumer Services.