Sunday, April 29, 2012

Hot time in the summertime?

Last week we were freezing, this week we'll be boiling!  The berries do NOT like extreme heat.  Jeff is trying to keep them cool by underground irrigation early every morning.  That's about all we can do to keep them happy and producing.  The other alternative is overhead sprinklers - but I don't think our visitors would be too happy picking strawberries AND getting a shower at the same time!

We've had a lot of fun recently with many families visiting the farm and Murray State International students came for our one and only field trip of the year.  Here are some great pictures they sent us!

Oh, did you notice I added a bunch of my favorite summer songs to the top of my playlist?

The group in front of our new sign
Now he's a seasoned tractor driver!  He took the students on a hay ride.

This is one of the sweetest pictures I've seen!
A happy strawberry family :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A bit of English strawberry history and The Berry Farm

Our new sign
I love Great Britain!  I wish I'd known I would be the wife of a strawberry grower when I was traveling throughout that beautiful land.  I'd certainly have visited "The Strawberry Line".  What does this have to do with our farm?   

We are amazed and blessed that so many of you want Jeff's strawberries.  But, since we are a rather small farm, we are introducing our own "Strawberry Line". 
Please call (270.468.0110), text, email (, or message me on Facebook with your order amount and phone number.  We will call the next person on the list as the berries come out of the field to see if they want them.  We hope you will understand - this seemed the only fair way to try to get strawberries to the most people fairly.  

Jeff suggested growing more acres of strawberries.  I suggested he get another wife!  He thought one was more than enough!

We do love everyone we meet at the farm.  You all have such interesting, fun, amazing lives and we thank you for sharing them with us :)

The West Country is amazing for walks and there are few better than this one.  The Strawberry Line was an affectionate name given to the railway track that ran between Yatton, Cheddar, Wells and Shepton Mallet, and on to Cranmore and beyond to Witham.
Part of the Great Western Railway, the Strawberry Line was completed in 1869. It became an important line for passengers and freight carrying dairy produce, stone, and of course, the famous Cheddar strawberries from which it takes its name. Victorian railway engineers completed a section of track which connected the Cheddar Valley settlements to Bristol. This brought huge benefits to the local economy opening up lucrative London markets to locally grown produce.
Renown for their quality strawberries grown on the southern slopes of the Mendip Hills, an army of strawberry growers and pickers fed the tables of the capital with this wonderful early season fruit for nearly a century. The Cheddar Valley Railway Line line soon became known affectionately as “The Strawberrry Line” but finally closed in 1965.
The route from Yatton to Cheddar is about 10 miles long and surrounded by amazing countryside.  This is well worth the trip and with strawberry picking time coming up there is no better time to do it!!!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Alliterations and adventures

I go to a wonderful exercise class at Fulton United Methodist Church called "Wealthy Walking".  These wonderful ladies must be part of the newly formed group here at The Berry Farm called "Happy Helpers"!  Joan Homra and Nancy Nix arrived just in time to help unload our shipment of 10,000 strawberry containers :)  A warning to future visitors:  time your visit carefully, or you may end up like the "Happy Helpers"!

We've had many wonderful families come to the farm.  These are just 3 of them.  Aren't they adorable?


Buckets of berries

: )

Family fun
Look at the fish food caught in mid-air!

Isn't this the sweetest?


Monday, April 16, 2012

It's raining, it's pouring

The Berry Farm is open today! We won't be doing deliveries, but we are open for u-pick. Bring your galoshes :) The berries are firm (not waterlogged!). The fields are loaded - it will be easy, fast picking. We are working to get the water out of the ends of the walking rows - other than that, just muddy.

A few years ago, I went to a strawberry farm in Murray and just went barefoot to pick. The owner just hosed my feet off when I finished. I pretty much had the field to myself to pick, be out in nature, and just refresh myself. It was wonderful! So, come and we'll hose off your muddy feet :)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Berries need a day of rest, too!

Just like the Sabbath is a day of rest for us from our labors, so it is with our strawberry fields.  They need to soak up the sun, water, and nutrients on Sunday - sort of like how we get our spiritual batteries recharged at church.  Then we're all ready to start a new week.  

We were so busy today!  It was fun to see many families come to the farm.  Some were first-timers, some seasoned pros (and oh, how those kiddos have grown in a year!).  Here's a cute picture and a sweet comment from Madi's mom.

Madison and I had a wonderful time picking strawberries.  This was the first experience for Madison who is 6 and we quickly picked a box of strawberries in 20 minutes.  Also the strawberries were the sweetest we have had in a very long time.  Madison had eaten 10 before we made it home.  Thank you for the wonderful experience.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


That's the only word that describes today!  It was like being on a rollercoaster ride for 15 hours.  Busy, busy, busy - and our workers did such a great job (with thanks to Farmer Jeff for growing such great strawberries).

Tomorrow will be even bigger since we have more orders than today, so I will probably not post tomorrow, as I may be incapable of making a coherent sentence :)

Nighty night!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Brrrrrrr!!!!! Opening day at the North Pole instead of The Berry Farm

Well, if you come tomorrow morning, bring a coat and gloves - isn't that crazy??  Apparently, Mother Nature didn't get the word that we are opening tomorrow.  We'll supply the hot chocolate if you bring the donuts....Jeff should start a bonfire in the fire pit, don't you think?

Seriously, the berries look wonderful - and plentiful.  Even though a frost is predicted, it won't harm the berries.  They are safe until the temperature reaches 28 degrees.

I didn't get these wonderful pictures posted last season - aren't they great?  Send us your pictures this season and I'll post as many as possible.

Wow!  Did the boys pick all those berries?  Come swing on our John Deere hay rake swing - not too comfortable, but unique!

Love the pink boots :)

Brother and sister found some great berries!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Come and get 'em!

If you're reading this, you are among the first to find out that we open THURSDAY at 7 a.m.  Jeff says that we have more strawberries in the field on opening day than any other year. I didn't pick the berry below, but saved it for some lucky picker!  When you come, please tell us your name - I'm not the good one with faces - that talent belongs to my husband - now, what does he look like......????
A "little" sample of what's in the fields

Monday, April 9, 2012

Another new pet on The Berry Farm

Berry and our Siamese cat, Dudley (yes - he's named after Dudley Moore, the actor)
We have our strawberry plants delivered from Canada in mid-September.  Then they must be watered often until we plant them a few days later.  One morning I went out to water and found THIS sniffing around the strawberry plats!  Oh, he was so friendly and loving - how could we turn him away!  We couldn't.  But, what to name him?  Wasn't it obvious? He HAD to be called Berry :)  He's part terrier and part BIG DOG, as far as we can tell.  He just wants love, love, and more love.  

STAY TUNED - we're opening later this week - not sure if it will be Thursday or Friday yet.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Farmer Jeff's pets

I just had to add some more pictures of the cute Daisy Girl Scouts.  They're at the pond that we stocked many years ago with catfish.  They are monster catfish now!  Jeff took the Daisies out to watch the catfish feed.  When they come up to the edge of the water, Jeff can actually PET them on their heads!  What's next, giving them a kiss on the head??  Don't even suggest having a catfish fry.....So, if you come to the farm, it won't hurt to ask if he'll pet a catfish for you and the family!

Daisy Scouts in from the field with their berries

When I saw this recipe for fruit leather, I kicked myself for giving away my dehydrator!  But you don't need one with this recipe - just your oven.  

Fruit Leather Recipe

  • Strawberries
  • Water
  • Lemon juice 
  • Sugar (if needed)
**4 cups of fruit yield about one sheet of fruit leather
  1. Preheat the oven to the lowest setting or 120 degrees...the lowest my oven would go was 170 degrees.
  2. Rinse the berries and cut of the green tops.  Cut the berries into quarters if they are large berries.
  3. If the berries are sweet you will not need to add much sugar, but if they are tart you will need to add a bit more.
  4. Place the berries in a covered saucepan on medium heat.  Pour in 1/2 c. water for every 4 cups of fruit.  Bring the berries to a simmer and let them cook down for 10-15 minutes until the fruit is soft.
  5. Use a potato masher to mash the fruit that is left in the pan until fairly smooth.  (Or wait for the mixture to cool a bit and put it in your food processor or blender.)  If you kiddos are sensitive to the seeds, you could strain the mixture through cheesecloth to remove the strawberry seeds.
  6. Add sugar 1 tsp. at a time until desired sweetness and lemon juice to taste  I added 1/2 c. sugar and the juice from 1/2 of a lemon to give it some real zing.
  7. Simmer fruit until sugar is completely disolved and the mixture has thickened (about 5 or 10 minutes more).
    8.   Spray a baking sheet lightly with cooking spray and line a baking sheet with plastic wrap. Pour the strawberry mixture onto the lined baking sheet until it is about 1/8 of an inch thick or so.
    9.  Bake in the low temperature oven for as long as it takes for the puree to dry out (between 8 and 12 hours) and not be sticky to the touch...ours took 6.5 hours since it was at a higher temp.
    10.  Let the fruit leather cool.  Then as you take the leather up, tightly roll it, plastic wrap and all as you would do cinnamon rolls.
    11.  Then cut the leather into desired widths.
    12.  Store the homemade "fruit roll ups" in airtight containers or plastic baggies.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Turn, turn, turn

I've always loved the scripture in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, and how it was so beautifully put to music by The Byrds in "Turn, turn, turn". I use the words as a guide through the seasons of my life - that we can't do everything at once, but we CAN do each thing at different times in our lives and we shouldn't drag ourselves down or think less of ourselves because we aren't doing what someone else is doing.  Just do what the good Lord asks you to do at this time in your life!

 I thought of that song when Jeff and I walked the fields on this beautiful day and saw this:

Berries turning from green to that beautiful, sweet red

Aren't these pretty?  A lady came to the farm to pick strawberries for a wedding and she said she was going to use a balsamic vinegar on them.  I didn't get her recipe (drats!), but wonder if it was this one....

In this recipe for Balsamic Glazed Strawberries, fresh strawberries are coated with a shiny, crispy candy coating flavored with balsamic vinegar that shatters in the mouth. If you're not familiar with the combination of balsamic vinegar and strawberries, you might be surprised at how well they go together. The vinegar adds just a little acidity and tang to the otherwise sweet and juicy berries.

Yield: 24 glazed strawberries


  • 2 dozen fresh strawberries, washed and patted dry
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tbsp (1/4 cup) balsamic vinegar


1. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray, or alternately line a baking sheet with a nonstick Silpat liner.
2. Push a skewer or lollipop stick through the top of each strawberry.
3. In a small saucepan, combine the water, the sugar, and the balsamic vinegar. Stir the mixture over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, then turn the heat up to medium-high and insert a candy thermometer.
4. Continue to cook the mixture, without stirring, until it reaches 300 degrees F (65 C) on the candy thermometer.
5. Once at 300 degrees, remove the pan from the heat.
6. Working quickly, hold a strawberry by the skewer and dip it into the candy, until it is almost fully submerged. Remove it from the candy and hold it over the pan for a moment, letting any excess drip off. Rest the glazed strawberry on the prepared baking sheet to set completely.
7. Continue until all of the strawberries have been glazed. If the candy starts to get too thick, return it to the heat briefly, just to loosen it up—do not let it cook further!
8. These Balsamic Glazed Strawberries only last an hour or two, because the candy starts absorbing some of the moisture from the berries and soon starts to melt. Therefore, they should be enjoyed immediately after they are made.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

New Farm Game!

A new season is about to begin and I'm playing games - on my blog!  Catch up is where I post all the pictures I meant to post last season and am finally sharing with you.  This season I will try to be more diligent :)  I'll post a few pictures each day till opening - and throw in a few "getting ready for the season" ones so you can see what we're doing "down on the strawberry farm.

Speaking of seasons, it's almost here!!!! Jeff was out showing a friend the field yesterday, and saw a berry turning light pink - oh, my - it's anybody's guess when we open.  Speaking of guesses - when do YOU think we'll open?  Send me your predictions on our fb page just for fun.

Aren't these kiddos darling?  She got all dressed up in a beautiful strawberry outfit to come to the farm.  
Josiah found a great big one!


Daisiy Girl Scouts had a field trip, but it poured rain that day.  Some of them waited the rain out at the observation beehive and later, when the skies cleared, picked strawberries.
  The Daisy Girl Scouts lent Farmer Jeff one of their umbrellas 

Oh, here's a wonderful recipe - I used to find these at the "Christkindl" market in Frankfurt, Germany - only not one strawberry on a skewer, but 5 or 6.  They were delish!

Glazed strawberries are fresh berries coated with a shiny candy shell, and they make a gorgeous decorative addition to a fruit platter, fruit tart, or berry cake. They are also delicious on their own, and this glazing recipe can be used to coat orange slices, grapes, or a variety of other fruits. Be aware that this candy should be enjoyed within an hour or two of preparation, because the moisture of the fruit quickly makes the candy shell become sticky.
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 lb fresh strawberries, stems on


1. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Wash the strawberries and dry them carefully.
3. Prepare an ice bath by placing ice and cold water in a bowl large enough to hold your intended saucepan.
4. Combine the sugar, corn syrup and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Insert a candy thermometer, and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.
5. Continue to cook, without stirring, until the temperature reaches 300 degrees on the candy thermometer. During this process, which can take from 10-20 minutes, wash down the sides of the saucepan occasionally with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystallization.
6. Once the candy has reached 300 degrees, remove the pan from the heat immediately, and immerse the bottom in the prepared ice bath to stop it from cooking any further.. Do not let the ice water get into the candy!
7. Once the candy has stopped cooking (look for the bubbles to stop rising from the bottom of the pan), you can begin to dip your berries. Holding a strawberry by the stem, dip it until it is almost submerged in the candy. Be careful not to touch the candy, as it is very hot and can cause dangerous burns. Remove the berry from the candy and allow the excess to drip off the end. Turn it a few times to ensure excess candy is removed, then place it on the prepared, oiled baking sheet.
8. Repeat with remaining berries and candy. Allow the candy to set at room temperature, and serve berries within an hour or two of their preparation.