Sometimes the simplest things make the best memories, like hoisting your grandchild on top a flatbed truck covered with hay, taking a scenic ride along tree lined roads jutting off running streams weaved in between a farm’s vast sections of fields each designating select fruits until some minutes later finally arriving at that special destination for which you came.
Last Saturday, enabled a sweet memory as this, the bumpy rhythm of the big-wheeled tires rubbing along the pebbled stone pathway coming to a jolted halt, my Grandson, the J-Dude, making his way back down the center of the strewn layers of hay departing a grand hop off the truck landing right into the patch, the strawberry patch that is. It’s Strawberry Festival Time at Linvilla Orchards in Media, Pennsylvania and celebrating a favorite old fashioned activity surrounding many seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the country coined ‘Pick Your Own’.
Carefully choosing just the right strawberry before plucking each individual one off the leafy plant then filling stacked green cardboard baskets with plump red juicy delights from among the ripe patch of plenty was the joy of the day at Linvilla’s, well almost, another joyous highlight featured the Delaware Valley’s largest Strawberry Shortcake. Now let’s face it, a seven year old boy who loves sweets eyeing an essential five foot long and three feet wide whipped cream iced, yellow cake loaded with fresh strawberries oozing its sugary juices, it’s the stuff of dreams. Let me also share this cake the size of a big table was the highlight conversation of sheer fascination among the J-Dudes posse of buddies at the neighborhood pool all afternoon until they too all showed up at my kitchen later to confirm truth on the largest sliced piece of cake ever, as well as to claim a slice of this delight for themselves. Two three dollar purchased desserts amply treating five children and then some was well worth waiting the very long twisted line that wound its way throughout the fresh and otherwise food related products offered at the Linvilla Market and even if just to procure a slice suiting any dessert lovers enthusiasm, in this case seven year old boys.
‘Pick Your Own’ fruits and vegetables is such a fun activity for kids of all ages and a great outing to share with family and friends. The flavor of something just picked from the field is incredibly superb and unmatched with any other flavor, well indescribable. I asked some of the folks traveling in our hayride caravan just what they planned to do with all of their just picked strawberries and most commonly folks planned on simply washing them and eating them straight out of their containers, others planned on strawberry shortcake, strawberry puree for pouring onto ice cream, chocolate covered strawberries, a strawberry torte cake. One group huddled off to the side of the field quietly immersed in discussions on the merits of canning or freezing their strawberries while I believe adding in some mysterious scientific advantages or otherwise. What will you do with your fresh picked strawberries?
The J-Dude and I made the advance decision that a good part of the day’s picking would serve toward the homemade strawberry ice cream we would later prepare together, and as you can see in the photo above our creation was a sweet success, or, as the J-Dude refers to the finished recipe prior to freezing, “the best thing I have ever tasted.”
If you live outside of Pennsylvania many states also have websites dedicated solely to ‘Pick Your Own’ Farms listing fruit and vegetable picking dates, times, and special events. This summer I will also be doing some ‘Pick Your Own’ fruits and vegetables in New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland. Linvilla Orchards is a larger operation, run highly organized so you can just park your car and follow the crowds. The wait to hop onto your hayride out to the fields runs regularly throughout the day and moves fairly quickly. Linvilla also features many other activities combined with your fruit picking such as music performances the whole family can enjoy and specific to the children, costumed characters, face painting, pony rides, and games.
Above is featured the Delaware Valley’s Largest Strawberry Shortcake out at Linvilla Orchards.
You can check more into the ‘Pick Your Own’ summer schedule along with details on the upcoming festivals at Linvilla Orchards here. If you missed the Strawberry Festival, some of the other events worth mentioning include The Raspberry Festival on June 22, Blueberry Festival on July 6, and the Sweet Corn and Blackberry Festival, (sounds yummy) on Saturday, July 20.
Do you and your family and friends have a ‘Pick Your Own’ Fruits or Vegetables outing scheduled for the summer yet? Carefully choosing each ripe fruit, plucking it from its leaf, filling green cardboard baskets from among the field’s bounty, the experience is plain out shared fun for children of all ages. Perhaps most special of all, though times may change ‘Pick Your Own’ continues as one of those special old-fashioned traditions offering an opportunity for creating the best of memories among the most simple of things. Linvilla Orchards, Simple Pleasures, Great Memories, ‘Pick Your Own’ Strawberries
- 1 1/2 cups strawberries, whole fresh picked, wiped clean with a damp cloth and stems removed
- 1/2 cup cold milk
- 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 Tablespoon Vanilla
- 2 1/2 Tablespoons Cointreau
- dash salt
- Coarse chop fresh strawberries. Into a mixing bowl stir together the milk, heavy cream, sugar, vanilla extract, cointreau and salt. Add strawberries to food processor then pulse strawberries to small bits, not quite pureed. Pour the milk and heavy cream mixture into the food processor and pulse together all ingredients to a smooth consistency. Remove Frozen Ice Cream Bowl of the Ice Cream Maker from the Freezer and immediately pour strawberry ice cream mixture in. Follow Directions of your ice cream maker for churning, when ice cream is finished, Cover with plastic and freeze overnight.
- The Bowl of the Ice Cream Maker should be kept in the Freezer inside a plastic bag at least overnight before using. Only remove the Bowl from the Freezer when ice cream recipe is ready for beginning the churning process.