operation strawberry

The first day of summer found us traveling 80 miles to pick strawberries on the warmest day of the year so far (a whopping 80 degrees!).
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Once again, Spud served as our quality control officer, resuming his post within seconds of arriving at the strawberry fields.  After half an hour of thorough strawberry tasting, he retired to an apple box in my row for the duration of the outing, tempering the effects of his diligence with goldfish and water. 
IMG_4097Two hours later, we were all tuckered out and headed towards home with 65 pounds of strawberries to our name (and possibly a few more in our tummies).
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The real work began the following day (and continued for two more), as my faithful helpers, Jr. and Bug, assisted me with most of the washing, hulling, freezing, and bagging.
IMG_4116Spud provided comic relief by feeding strawberries to his lawnmower.
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We moved our entire operation outdoors this year—a win-win for everyone involved.  My little kitchen can’t hold 3 adult-(or almost)sized bodies, or the mess they make.  Bug had the genius idea to use one of our coolers as the washing tub, the hose provided all the water we needed, and the stems and bad berries were that much closer to the compost pile.  Also, Spud had the run of the yard within eyesight and earshot of all of us.  And–a huge relief–the house and kitchen stayed (relatively) clean!  Well definitely be repeating this tactic with as many of our other fruit and vegetable preservations as possible.
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When the cutting,
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and the freezing,
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and the labeling,
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and the crushing,
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and the jam-making dust settled,
we found ourselves with 28 4-cup bags of frozen strawberries, and 13 half-pint jars of freezer jam.  It’s a good feeling to be putting food away for the coming months. 
Bring on the raspberries!

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