Strawberry season is here everyone! April is the perfect month to enjoy the spring weather with your family and friends. I traveled to Houston to visit my family and as a foodie, my fascination with food does not stop at the kitchen or the restaurants. Where the ingredients came from and who grew them are just as important (let's show appreciation for our farmers too!). I was delighted to be informed by a friend that out in the suburbs of Houston is where one can find Froberg's Strawberry Farm, an all inclusive farmville experience sans the planting part. I'm sure there are strawberry farms all around the states and the world so maybe do a little research and you'll be surprised that a strawberry farm just might be near you.
The farm offers various fresh produce for you to take home, a barbeque restaurant, a family picnic area, and of course the unique experience of picking your own strawberries directly from the plant. Surprisingly, there were so many people on the Sunday afternoon. Parking can be difficult so expect additional wait time to find a parking spot. Froberg's farm seems to span for acres, but the strawberry plots were the only opened area during my visit. From the parking area, you want to walk towards the large warehouse building. You will pass by a fenced off picnic area and a small shack selling Texas barbeque. Inside the warehouse, you will see a sign to purchase the strawberry picking buckets. The farm does not allow any other containers except for their branded buckets which can be purchased in cash only at $1 each.
All strawberries picked will be weighed upon your return to the warehouse. After purchasing the bucket, a staff will instruct you of the rules and usher you to the available strawberry plot. FYI, kids under 12 are welcomed but needs to be supervised at all times while pets are not allowed.
Froberg's farm seems to maintain the strawberry plots well. There were plenty of ripe strawberries to harvest from despite having a good crowd of people picking away. It should not be difficult to find bushes that bears ripe strawberries.
From what I've observed, the bushier rows (most likely the more matured plants) tend to have over-ripen strawberries that have already been eaten by insects or damaged by previous pickers. I would recommend to go for the younger bushes for a better quality of strawberries.
You can pick the strawberries with bare hands. It might take some strength to break the stem from the plant. A good way to facilitate the action is to twist the stem while pulling. Otherwise, bring a small scissor.
In no time, half of the bucket was filled with beautiful strawberries. I've never seen strawberries this fresh and plump before. In fact, I've never seen a fully grown strawberry bush, so the experience was enlightening for me. A produce that I've always kept in stocked at home and yet I had no idea what the strawberry plant actually looked like. After picking the strawberries, bring the buckets back to the warehouse to be weighed by the staff. I had about 2 lbs. of strawberries and the total came out to be $6, so that's roughly $3/lbs. You might want to browse the other fresh produce grown at the farm before checking out at the cash register. They also have a bakery and an ice cream section that feature desserts made from the freshly picked strawberries. If you are not scare of calories, I highly recommend trying the strawberry milkshake.
The berries aced the taste test, they were sweet and juicy. The freshly picked strawberries truly re-defined my standard for "fresh" produce. Additionally, the experience was priceless. Not only is it a great activity to spend time with your family and friends, but you get to learn about where your food comes from and what it looks like before being shipped to your nearest grocery. Lucky me, Gus has recently planted some strawberry bushes at our balcony in Chicago, so I'm really looking forward to savor the freshly picked strawberries once again (if it does bare fruit and not die from the tornado wind here!).
Two amateur cooks creating and tasting dishes from our lovely city of Chicago. Follow our world wide adventure as we discover ingredients, dishes, recipes, and the foodie way of life.
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