04 Jun Laura: A different kind of harvest
Clay County, Texas – Journeying along the harvest trail in the summer is not exactly conducive to an elaborate vegetable garden though I admit I did plant a lonely cucumber and pumpkin plant for the kids in hopes it would catch just enough rain until we make it for our home stop. My lack of garden is probably why I love a good farmer’s markets on the trail. Getting produce picked at the peak of freshness and the fun of the actual market is a win-win. So when I learned of a “pick your own strawberries” event at a patch not too far down the road, I knew we had to do it to give the kids at least a partial garden experience. To put it mildly, it was a hit as you’ll see from the pictures below.
Just like the title states, a person can go, handpick one’s own strawberries, weigh and pay, then head home with your own bag of locally grown goodness. Seriously, for visitors, it’s the fun of having a garden without any of the work! We were told to eat as many as we wanted for free while we picked. Let me tell you, they were the best – freshest strawberries I’ve had. The smell of strawberries that hung in the humid – warm afternoon air was something I won’t soon forget.
Of course, you know happens when farmers get together, even those of different production backgrounds. We got to yapping. We learned that the orchard had been in the family for multiple generations. They raise many crops (see here or here), but I’ll talk strawberries today. In the fall, they receive their shipment of bare roots from their supplier and plant them around Halloween. I was told they overwinter just fine, but the Texas summer heat usually keeps them from bearing fruit all summer long. Then they start over in the fall. They aren’t immune from the weather either and experienced a large hail storm just days after we picked. There are so many factors that can go into orchard life besides the weather, like insects, disease, marketing the fruits and vegetables, taking them to a market, a reliable labor force, and crop insurance. We enjoyed visiting with the Young’s and learning more about a different type of agriculture. We wish them well with the rest of their season.
All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and John Deere. Laura can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.