Friday, July 5, 2013

Strawberry Fields

I remember picking strawberries at a farm near my house as I was growing up. It was such a fun experience to be picking your own food. Eventually, that farm sold its land for houses to be built and I haven't picked strawberries since.

When we first moved to Brisbane, I heard that there were PYO strawberry fields not too far away. I really wanted my boys to experience picking fruit from the plant and understand where food comes from but Caleb was too little to enjoy it, so I filed that idea away for a later date.

Yesterday, we finally got to do it. With one of our good friends, and 6 kids between us, we drove 1.5 hours up the Sunshine Coast to Strawberry Fields. It was such a beautiful day to be out - it was sunny and the air was fresh.

We parked the car and walked towards PYO field 11, on the other side of the bridge. The ground was really wet from all the rain they had earlier in the week and we had to be careful not to step into the slippery mud.

 As soon as we got to the dirt road, the big boys took off in a sprint, with little Caleb trying to keep up.

Eventually, he got to a big mud puddle and had to stop. He waited for me and we navigated around the puddles together. I'm going to miss holding his little hand!

Each of the big boys got a punnet to fill, and the little kids had one to share. They took their punnets and headed into the field to pick their strawberries.

We had to be careful to pick only the ones that were all ripe because strawberries don't ripen after they're picked.

I was impressed with how restrained Caleb was. He only picked strawberries I said were okay, and although his chubby fingers squished a few really ripe ones, he managed to pick some for us to take home.

We picked

And picked

And picked

And picked

And soon, everyone's punnets were overflowing with strawberries so we gathered the children and headed towards the cart to pay for the strawberries. At $16/kg, these were pricy strawberries but at least we had a good time picking them. The website says prices decrease as the season goes on, and is cheapest at the end of the season when they're trying to sell off all the ripe strawberries.

I don't normally push my must-document-everything behaviour on anyone outside my family but I really wanted a photo all the kids together. I managed to get 5/6 kids into the photo, with 3/5 looking at the camera and 5/5 smiling. That's pretty good, I think!

After a long trek back to the playground/cafe/open field area, the kids all got an ice cream treat.

And of course, they also got to taste the fruits of their labour! I think everyone enjoyed the freshly picked strawberries.

We decided to let the kids run around and play for a while. The big boys played handball for a long time, then took to jumping off bales of hay along with other big kids.

The little kids spent their time on the playground equipment, climbing up the stairs, and sliding down the slide, running around and doing it all over again. Us moms finally got a chance to just sit down in the shade and chat. It was wonderful. 

And we treated ourselves to some strawberry ice cream, too. We had done well for the day and we figured this snack would help make the long drive home a little less painful.

It was absolutely delicious - I don't think I've ever had a better strawberry ice cream.

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