Monday, May 14, 2012

The Highlight Reel

To say this season has been busy would be the understatement of the year.  Seeing all of y'all has been great.  We've met new customers and neighbors and got to catch up with old ones.  I love to see how children grow and families change and know I've been a small part of that.  The crop's been good too.  Our berries have produced triple what they ever had, we opened three weeks early and are looking to go to almost the end of May.  Here are some highlights of the season, since I really haven't had time to settle down enough to blog:

Every day we take the berries we aren't able to sell, or the ones who don't look the best, and cap them to freeze them and sell them to a dairy.  I took some today.  92 2.5 gallon bags went in the back of my father-in-law's truck and were then transported an hour and a half northwest to Hillsborough.  It doesn't matter how fast you go though, when you get there the bags are in various stages of melting.  So when you get finished not only are you covered in red strawberry juice, it looks like you've murdered someone in the back of the truck (the last time The Husband made a run a highway patrolman followed him for 10 miles.  Coincidence?  Maybe.  But he drives like a grandma and I've never seen a highway patrolman who didn't speed so...maybe not).

I think I need a better way!
Saturday was mother's day and our annual treasure hunt.  It was an absolutely beautiful day to pick berries.  Around lunchtime I was out getting lunch for the employees (victims) and while I was gone the bees decided to swarm again.  I noticed they seemed to be 'acting' weird all week, coming out to pitch on the hive, not flying in their normal patterns.  Instead of swarming earlier in the day when we were not as busy or later even they decide to do it right at lunchtime while we have a family enjoying their lunch underneath the tree they decide to pitch on.  
Notice the thicker blobs in the middle of the picture, that is the latest swarm
We've had some really great groups out this year.  It's been another learning experience for me (my motto is to go with the flow, and we've done a lot of that this year!).  I'm used to speaking to older groups, schools and other groups of older children who have had experience sitting down and listening to someone talk.  This year I had a number of preschools/daycares, younger children who haven't had that much experience.  The first group that came baffled me completely.  Then I realized I had a great resource right there in my hands.  The NC Strawberry Association offers Strawberry Activity books and the first few pages explains how strawberries grow in preschool terms.  From then on I read the book until I memorized it (this I can remember but I wash my phone in the washing machine?).

Our CSA boxes started going out the end of April.  Again, it's a learning experience.  That first week The Husband called everyone (I'm much more of an e-mailer, facebooker, or texter.  He refuses to join the twenty-first century and this is THE one area where I appreciate it) to make sure they were happy with their boxes.  I'm hoping in the next few weeks we can add more variety and have more quantity too (there are only so many cabbage or radishes one can eat).  So far it's been great and I really love the idea that I go pull the onions that morning and someone's eating them that night.  It's great.

Week 2 Box
So, that's the season in a nutshell.  It's been great.  I hate strawberries officially until October now.  The smell was fantastic for week one, now it makes me sick.  Now we embark on our next adventure...produce!

Oh!  And I'm already planning my new punkin' chunker'