Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Of Strawberries & Cherries

We finally made it! After months of umm-ing and ahhh-ing and generally not getting our act together- we finally put aside some time this week to head over to the glorious Mornington Peninsula and raid a field of strawberries. 
As the days become increasingly warmer and time grows ever shorter I had visions of last year when by the time we said 'lets do it'- the season had closed and we had to wait... 
Not so this year. We had a beautiful day of it at Sunnyridge Strawberry farm- armed with ice-cream tubs and large brimmed hats, we headed out to the fields and found a spot just far enough away from the school excursion that was dominating the row next door.
There were four of us milling about in the sunshine, three adults and a two year old, and  I can assure you that there is nothing quite like watching an inquisitive and active child run amok in a patch of berries! We came away with sticky hands, sticky pants, sticky faces and shirts- claiming that not one of us could read the polite little signs reminding us that there was to be 'no eating in the fields'. Yep, try telling that to a two year old moving at eye level through a field of berry treasures!  

The sun beat down and the rows stretched out before us- and you would not believe how quickly we each filled our buckets, ferreting away amongst the bushy green leaves, teasing out their little red secrets!! And then, what to do with 2kg of 'ready to go' strawberries?  Simple, stop on the way home for some of the seasons last sour morello cherries, pick up some blackberries and you've got yourself the makings of a summer berry pudding. Hooray for sun warmed strawberries I cry!

But really, there is nothing better than the taste of the simple fresh berries, still warm from the field with juices so fragrant and sweet that to add anything extra almost seems a crime. It's a timely reminder to look beyond the supermarket when you can, because picking your own is so rewarding and your chances of finding anything as special as this on the pre-packed shelves is pretty slim. For a start they simply don't pack, travel or keep well... and so we must eat them now while they are good... you can find me in the kitchen with a bowl of berries and a smile.


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