Who’s in the mood for something sweet? South Florida’s wintry weather perfectly coincides with peak strawberry season, which means heading to the local u-pick farm, loading up on some red gems and preparing a smorgasbord of berry-infused delight. Looking for the best place to get your strawberry fix, and some ideas on how to prepare your bounty? Look no further, for its nothing but strawberries on this post. Enjoy!
Why eat 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 annual yield of 250 million pounds. Tasty straight off the plant, muddled in cocktails, mixed in yogurt, or added to a salad; strawberries truly are utilitarian. While strawberries are not only delicious, with the u-pick concept reducing the carbon footprint and helping bolster the local economy, the berries are also good for you – in moderation. While being fat, saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol free, strawberries are also high in vitamin C, folate, potassium, dietary fiber, and manganese—all good things. However, a standard serving of strawberries, 152 g (about one cup), is pretty high in sugar, 7g, equating to 49 calories. So, if you’re planning on blending up a smoothie or juice with some red berries, counter the sugar content with a healthy dose of leafy greens like kale or spinach—the flavor of the strawberries goes a long way.
So you’ve scored some delicious strawberries from the U-Pick farm, now what? Let us help the home cooking with this collection of strawberry-infused recipes.
Tips on Selecting
- Look for berries that are shiny, firm and bright red – these will be sweetest.
- The leafy caps should be fresh, green and intact – avoid berries with worn, brown leaf caps, these berries have already seen their peak freshness.
- Avoid shriveled, mushy, or leaky berries. If you notice any small holes bored into the berries, let’em be – that’s a telltale sign that a little buggy has or is still eating its fill.
Where to Pick
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.
- Operating seven days a week (9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday), the u-pick fields are closed on Tuesdays. Pickers have plenty of options to grab some locally grown produce, with strawberries, green and red peppers, and tomatoes currently in season through April. Bedner’s Farm Fresh Market, 10066 Lee Rd., Boynton Beach, 33473, 561-733-5490
U-Pick farms are not just a great way to support local growers and agriculture, but is also a great way to spend time with the family while teaching the wee ones where food comes from—that’s a win, win in our book.
Before you eat…
- Once you have picked your berries and brought them home, they will keep for one to three days in the refrigerator.
- As a rule, do not wash your berries until you are ready to eat them – they will get soggy and spoil if left wet.
- And it is always a good idea to thoroughly wash your berries before you eat them, even if grown organically (i.e., no pesticides)—there is plenty of handling, whether by other “u-pickers” or by processing personnel when store-bought. For even more peace of mind, use a fruit and vegetable wash like Fit Organic. Certified vegan and kosher, Fit is a 100 percent natural cleaner that removes 98 percent more pesticides, waxes, people-handling residue, and other contaminants than using just water. And it completely rinses away with no aftertaste or smell, so all you’re left with is clean, fresh, healthy berries.