One of the things I had meant to do with this blog was to write about how we save money while still enjoying ourselves, which I haven’t been doing a lot of, so here’s a story that should fit that description.
One of the good things about living here in southern New Hampshire, is that we have easy access to the small farms in the area. Just a few minutes outside of town there are a number of farms that offer a variety of fruits and vegetables; blueberries and strawberries in the early summer, peaches in mid summer, corn in the fall, and of course apples. Yes, there are peach trees in cold New England, and corn too, I was surprised myself when I found out that the farm down the street sold their own peaches. These are New England farms, so they are not large, and the prices will not be too competitive with the supermarket, but the produce is fresh and almost always better than the supermarket equivalent.
The one time when the prices at the farm are lower than the supermarket is ‘pick your own’ time. When the fruit is at its peak, and the farmers are more than happy to let you go ahead and get your own produce. Last week was pick your own strawberries week, a brief time that we often miss. One year we refused to miss it and stubbornly picked strawberries in a downpour. Definitely good strawberries, but we can’t easily pick them with a 3 year old while getting soaked.
Luckily, we had beautiful weather. Actually it was the middle of a heat wave, and we had to get out of the house. So it was off to Lull Farm in Hollis, NH. Their strawberries are not like the ones in the supermarket, which I think taste like chunks of dried kitchen sponge that have been briefly sprayed with strawberry flavored water. No, these just burst with delicious strawberry explosiveness. And at just $2 a pound, it’s less than half the usual price.
We were given little quart sized wood containers and off we went. We picked a row that was as far away from the crowd as possible. Way, way, way in the back. The idea being that no one else had been done those rows yet, so there must be good berries there. Of course, within a few minutes we were followed by people who seemed to have wondered what we were doing way over there away from everyone else. It didn’t take us long to fill three containers, and most likely eat at least two more containers worth as well.
Mr. C spent a great deal fo time picking, but very little time putting anything in the boxes. Are you eating those strawberries, I asked. No, he said, as his shirt quickly turned red from the strawberry juice dripping down his chin. (Sorry, no photos of that, he was moving too fast.)
Once we had filled our three containers, Mr C. offered to bring one up to the farmer to get weighed. OK, I said, here you go, handing it over. He walked ahead of me and by the time we got to the end of the row the box was about half full. After making a brief detour to refill that box, we weighed our boxes and paid for our nine pounds of berries. 4 and a half pounds! Those boxes are deceptive, I had no idea we had that much. In the supermarket that would cost $18 – $20, but at $2 a pound it was $9.
How long does 4.5 pounds of strawberries last?
On the first day, we had home made strawberry ice cream.
On the second day, we had strawberries with pancakes.
And the next day, we had strawberry smoothies with bananas and yogurt. (And no photos of that either, Mr. C and I drank them too fast.)
And in between that, we had them by the handfull. Mr. C would leave little piles of green tops on the kitchen counter.
So, we found out that 4.5 pounds of strawberries last about 3 days.
Next up is blueberries in about two weeks.