Last Saturday morning, my friend mentioned a strawberry-picking festival with promises of strawberry shortcake, which was enough to get me leaping out of bed. I love picking seasonal fruit at local farms, but the cherry on top is when the farm’s market offers corresponding treats (fresh cider donuts, anyone?). If you’re interested in finding “pick your own” farms near you, this international guide looks like a pretty good resource (seeking out cherries next!).
Our first stop of the day was to fuel up on my favorite breakfast dish in the greater Boston area…
Sofra, a little Turkish bakery & cafe, is the sister operation of Sienna Farms and the popular Oleana restaurant in Cambridge. I’ve tried a number of things here, but the “shakshuka” (eggs poached in a flavorful tomato broth served with a freshly-baked roll) brings me back time and time again. If you don’t like your eggs too runny, let them know. We’ve tried to recreate this dish at home and it never comes close. Tip – order 3 extra “pita” rolls to sop up the yummy sauce, and it could be a small breakfast for two (leaving room to try the pastries).
For the farm, I was warned that there’d be sweat, crawling, and lots of bending over. I picked an easy-to-wash ASOS set, wore bike shorts underneath, and grabbed a big hat for sun protection. I first saw this skirt set on Khatu last year and loved it on her. The midi-length design (original fit) was not flattering on me with flats, so I hemmed it a few inches shorter to hit right above the knees. ASOS Petite runs very small in my experience – I’m wearing a US 0/1 petite here, which fits about a size smaller than American brand 00Ps.
We went to Verrill Farm in Concord, MA (30-40 min outside the city), which allowed self-picking starting at 9AM. Entrance is free and picked berries were a reasonable $3/lb. I highly recommend arriving at farms as early as possible – we lazily rolled in around 1pm and the fields were very picked over (visitors after us were cut off). All the ripe berries remaining were teeny but tasty, and the air in the fields smelled so sweet and delicious.
Soft-serve ice cream lovers should save room for Dairy Joy on the way home, and Thoreau fans can make a detour to the nearby Walden pond reservation. After we got home, the mini-sized berries made a good puree for chilled bubbly drinks.
I must say, picking grounded fruit turned out to be one of the best workouts my thighs/butt have had in a while. The only ripe berries left were hidden underneath, requiring low bobbing from row to row. I had been doing squats regularly at home, but the burn from those was nothing compared to what was felt the days post-berry picking.