Strawberry Hill is a 40' by 6' patch of strawberrys on the rise between our yard and our neighbor's (the Pearson's) yard. The strawberry's were in the hill before we moved in, so before 1995 and have produced a crop every year.
The strawberry crop comes on in June and has been reliable for some summer beverages, smoothies, oatmeal and freezer bags for the winter months. About 3 years ago we removed a hedge that sat between the two yards at the top of Strawberry Hill and since then the strawberries really took off. This year's crop after a good dose of fertilizer after we finished picking last year's berries has been the best ever. We are eating over a quart of strawberries each day between Mary and me with smoothies or in oatmeal, Friday we had strawberry daiquris with our neighbors and this afternoon a strawberry milk shake. On top of this we probably have put 4 gallons in the freezer.
Picking strawberries for a snack is really pretty quick and easy, but start picking by the gallons and it is a chore. As you might expect they aren't all readily visible, you need to get down on the ground and push the leaves out of the way or turn them over to reveal the ripe berries. Early in the season you are competing with the slugs and the squirrels, but as the pace picks up there is way more than these critters can keep up with and the buckets start filling up. And then after you pick them you need to cap them and clean them befor eating. Cleaning and capping is not hard, but it does take some time ... no different than if you buy them at the grocery store, but remember we are working in gallons.
Last week Mary was inspired to make a strawberry cream cheese pie which always reminds me of our visit with Anne and David Jones when they lived in Steam Boat Springs, we visited just days before their first daughter was born.
Picking last for 3-4 weeks and there are plenty of berries for our friends and family. And as the season winds down the freezer is loaded with fresh frozen berries for smoothies through the winter. The 2008 frozen strawberries lasted until early May 2009 so we don't go long without strawberries here.And not too long after the strawberries are gone for the season our blueberries start to ripen and this year's crop looks to be a doozy too!