Fresh-picked strawberries

As you can see from my latest posts, I’m still working away at my Great Canadian Cheese Festival articles. I better hurry up, because the summer agritourism season is now in full swing and there’s so much to write about. And what better way to start than to write about STRAWBERRIES!!!!

Yes – finally – the pick-your-own strawberry season has begun, and to celebrate, I headed out yesterday to Cedar Hill Berry Farm in Pakenham. It was a race against the weather, as the skies were turning dark and the rain was on its way. But several days of hot, sunny weather had ripened the strawberries to perfection, and I was able to pick a 4 Litre basket in under 15 minutes.

I’m a big fan of Cedar Hill Berry Farm, having visited them last December for their Christmas tree season (which you can read about here). The setting is so idyllic, with the farm located at the end of a dirt road, beside a small creek with a covered bridge.

Your first stop for berry picking will be the barn beside the parking area. If you haven’t brought your own container, you can pick one up before heading to the field. Then you walk past the newly planted Christmas trees, over to the strawberry field, where you’ll be guided to the row where you’ll pick your berries. There’s lots of straw mulch between rows, so it’s comfortable (and clean) to sit down as you pick, which is nice for anyone who has trouble crouching for long periods.

It won’t take you long to fill your basket, and when you’re done, you move the flag in your row to the place where you stopped picking. Then it’s back to the barn, where your basket is weighed, and you pay for the strawberries (and the basket if you needed one). The prices are really inexpensive, in my opinion. I paid less than $8 for the large basket you see in the picture. The picked price was $14, so it’s worth it to pick your own if you have the time (although even $14 seems like a bargain when I consider the work involved if I grew my own!)

While you’re buying your berries, you can also pick up some of Ria Ralph’s popular jams. They are $5 a jar, and I can vouch for them being totally delicious. My favourite is the bumbleberry jam, although I haven’t yet tried the blueberry and strawberry-rhubarb jams, so perhaps I’ll be revising my favourite. (By the way, bumbleberry is a mixture of berries, sometimes with rhubarb – it’s not an actual berry, which I used to think!)

The strawberry season is just beginning, so there will be plenty of opportunities to pick more berries in the coming weeks. I hope to try out at least a couple more places, and will write about them here on my blog. In the meantime, I’m eating strawberries at every meal and throughout the day, as I try to use up this big basket from Cedar Hill. Life is hard. 🙂

Location:  Cedar Hill Side Rd, Pakenham (off County/Regional Road 29 between Almonte and Pakenham – see the Cedar Hill Berry Farm site for directions before heading out)

Phone Number: 613-256-3029

Website: http://www.cedarhillberryfarm.com

Hours: 8am-8pm Monday to Thursday, 8am-5pm Friday to Sunday and Holidays (picking hours may end earlier, so call ahead)