Thursday, June 23, 2016

Strawberry Day…We had so much fun!

by Andrea Yoder

This past weekend we hosted our annual Strawberry Day CSA event.  We had a gorgeous, sunny day for the party and were thrilled to have over 200 CSA members in attendance!  While we had many members who were enjoying their first visit to the farm, we also enjoyed seeing some of our longtime members and friends return to enjoy the day. We also had a group of happy campers enjoy a night under the stars in our valley! 

We started the party with a picnic potluck lunch, and let me tell you this was one of the best potluck
spreads I think we’ve ever seen!  We also enjoyed delicious iced maple latte made with Kickapoo Coffee’s cold-pressed coffee, Castle Rock Organic Dairy’s milk and Alvin Miller’s organic maple syrup.  The other cold beverage treat we enjoyed was a special batch of strawberry-basil kombucha made by NessAlla with HVF strawberries and basil!  Once we had all satisfied our mid-day hunger, we piled onto 5 wagons and ventured to the fields.  Our first stop was near the kale and collard field. Farmer Richard walked the field with some of the members on his wagon. Together they decided red curly kale was the first variety we should harvest for this week’s boxes. 

 Next stop along the way was at our Hammel Farm.  At this stop we checked out the broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage crops that will all be ready for harvest within the next few weeks.  We jumped back on the wagons and circled around the farm to get a good look at the peppers, tomatoes and tomatillos….all of which are looking great!!  Along the way we had the opportunity to answer a lot of excellent questions about the crops, the land, farming techniques, methods for controlling pests, how do we decide what to grow and how much and even a few equipment questions that I had to recruit some help from the crew members.  We were very impressed with the interest and thoughtful questions everyone asked this year!

After we left the Hammel Farm, we journeyed to our final stop along the tour….the strawberry field!!!  Everyone was anxious to start picking and eating the warm, juicy strawberries.  You could smell their aroma as we got close to the field and we were all in strawberry heaven!  After careful instructions from Farmer Richard, everyone got busy picking strawberries.  Farmer Richard, ever the teacher, created a lasting memory for the day when he had the opportunity to pick strawberries with a young CSA kiddo.  As Richard reflected on the day, he lamented that there were so many people and so little time, but this little guy “made my day.”  Richard taught this little guy how to pick strawberries.  Did you know that strawberries like to hide?  Well, they do and the trick to picking them is learning how to “find them.”  His student quickly caught on and filled his pint container in no time.  He handed it off to his mom and got started on another one!  If you can’t tell, Richard has a soft spot in his heart for children and I’m sure he’ll remember this strawberry day picking experience years from now after this youngster is grown up and moving on to college and beyond!

After strawberry picking we were all hot and ready to enjoy a bowl of refreshing strawberry ice cream.  I think it’s safe to say that EVERYONE loved the ice cream…Captain Jack was right, it is some of the best strawberry ice cream we’ve ever tasted!  A big thanks to the folks at Castle Rock Organic Dairy for making this special batch of ice cream just for us!    

 It takes many hands in the community to make this day a success.  Richard and I would like to thank all of our crew members who worked hard to get things ready for the day and many of them helped with the party as well.  A big thanks to our friends Bob & Carol who helped prepare food for the potluck. They were a joy for me to cook with and made the process of preparing hot dogs and chili sauce for over 200 people seem like no big deal.  We’d also like to thank Pam & Jim for their help with sharing Richard’s beautiful wood products at this party.  It was quite a display of unique, one-of-a kind products made from specially selected trees we’ve harvested.  We’ll have more things to share with you by the Harvest Party, just in time to start your Christmas shopping!

 All in all it was a great day.  We appreciate everyone who carved out time to come visit our farm and be part of the day with us.  We love getting to meet our members face to face and be able to share a little piece of our daily lives with all of you.  Your joy and appreciation for the work we do is what encourages us to continue doing what we do.  Thanks again!

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