Taking your children to a U-Pick farm is a hands-on method of teaching kids that fruit and vegetables don’t just magically appear at the grocery store. There is a lot of hard work that goes into growing and nurturing food before it gets to the store shelves. This opens the conversation – how do strawberries grow? On trees? Underground? What do they taste like? What do they smell like? Get your children interested in learning more and being more mindful of the foods we eat.
Picking Strawberries at Brown Farms
Brown Farms has been operating in New Market, Alabama for almost 70 years, so they know a thing or two about growing delicious food! Just a short half hour drive from Huntsville, they are our favorite place to go strawberry picking with the kids.
April through July is peak strawberry season. They grow over 10 acres of Chandler strawberries that produce large, sweet fruit perfect for desserts and freezing. In addition to strawberries, Brown Farms also keeps greenhouses full of hanging flower baskets, succulents, and flower arrangements.
Brown Farms Strawberry Picking Pro-Tips
- Wear dark colored clothing (if you forgot, buy a Browns Farm T-Shirt in the gift shop)
- Pack baby wipes, grocery/trash bags, & a change of clothes
- Wear closed-toed shoes or even rain boots in case fields are muddy
- A gravel parking lot makes a stroller challenge – bring your baby carrier!
- Wagons are available free of charge, but quantities are limited
- There are changing tables in the Women’s restroom
- Bring your lunch, or chow down on your strawberries in the covered picnic area
- The Farm Store sells a variety of drinks for $1 as well as local honey and gifts
- Kick up your strawberry-picking adventure a few notches! Listen to ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ by the Beatles, or the Beat Bugs soundtrack on the way to the farm
Prepping & Washing Your Strawberries
So now you’ve picked gallons of sweet berries, what can you do with them?
It’s always a good idea to wash fresh produce before eating. Brown Farms sprays a fungicide to prevent disease on the plants in early bloom, before the berries appear. The plants are tested regularly to ensure a safe level is present.
My favorite natural wash solution: 1 Cup of White Vinegar, 4 cups of water to 1 pound of berries. Let them soak for 5 minutes. Strain and rinse with cold water. Spread on towel and allow to air dry. Store in the fridge.
If you have some strawberries than you can eat that week, freeze them!
After washing and drying the berries. Hull the strawberries. Lay in a single layer on a cookie sheet with parchment and freeze overnight. Once frozen, label and date in a freezer bag (Good for up to a year).
Yummy Strawberry Recipes
Strawberries are an excellent source of Vitamin C and an have powerful anitioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties such as anthocyannis that give them their vibrant red color. Strawberries have a short shelf life and ideally should be eaten within 3 days after being harvested.
Nutrition Info: 1 cup = 13 total carbs, 45 calories, 3.3 grams of Fiber
1 Pint Chop strawberries
½ cup/ ½ of a small red onion, diced
Cilantro 2/3 cup
1 Fresh jalapeńo, diced with stem and seeds removed
Squeeze of lime, about 2 TBS
1 Avocado diced
Salt & pepper
Couldn’t be easier! Chop it all up, mix well, and throw it in a bowl. Served on top of grilled salmon or chicken. Top tacos, nachos or just eat with tortilla chips.
Homemade Tortilla Chips: Corn tortillas, cut in ¼ pieces. Spray the tortilla pieces with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 12 minutes at 400 degrees.
Creamy Strawberry Whip Recipe
1 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup frozen raspberries
¼ cup of milk of choice
1.5 teaspoons sugar or sweetner
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/16th teaspoon of salt
Blend in blender, pour into plastic bag, and pour into bowl
Plastic Bag Strawberry Ice Cream
Let the kids do the hard part – I mean FUN part – on this recipe.
1 Cup Organic Half n Half
3 TSP Sugar
3 TSP Pureed or Chopped Strawberries
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
Double bag (trust me) a gallon ziplock bag of ice. Sprinkle ¼ cup of icecream salt/rock salt into bag.
Pour Liquid mixture into a smaller quart size ziplock (double bag, trust me) zip and place smaller bag into the larger one filled with ice. Wrap in a kitchen towel and have the kids shake, run around and massage the bags for about 10 minutes. Its done! Topped with fresh strawberries!
Strawberries on Toast
Strawberry Avocado Toast
1 Slice of Whole Grain Toast
½ Smashed Avocado
½ Cup Sliced Strawberries
Sprinkle Sea Salt, Chia or Hemp Seeds
Strawberry NutButter Toast
Whole Grain Toast
2 TBS Nut Butter of Choice
½ Cup of Sliced Strawberries
Drizzle with Honey
Sprinkle with chia or hemp seeds
Strawberry Picking at Brown Farms
When: Strawberry season opens Monday April 15, 2019 | Open 8AM – 6PM, 7 Days a week
Where: 384 Walnut Grove Road, New Market, Alabama 35761 (map)
How Much: Pick Your Own: $13 (includes bucket you keep) | Pre-Picked Gallon: $15
Cash, check or card or accepted.
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