Friday, July 3, 2009

Strawberry Fields Forever?

Evidently not here in my county.

Today we were looking for strawberries; lots of strawberries; about 12 quarts, to be exact, mostly for freezing.

I knew of one small you-pick operation near the Midland County line, but we didn't have time to pick our own. After a fruitless (pardon the pun) Internet search of strawberry growers in our area we settled on buying ours from Buckeye Market, a venerable produce grower/seller east of Gladwin; while they don't grow their own strawberries, they do sell Michigan berries, and they have a local reputation for quality.

When we got to the store, we found lots of summer people provisioning for the long weekend...but no strawberries. A shipment from Traverse City was due to arrive at noon, I was told. I left my number and asked for a call when the berries were in.

We ran some errands in town, then came back around noon just to see if we could meet the truck. The truck was running late. Customers were beginning to loiter in the store, waiting. The counter people told them that they might have to wait an hour or more for the new shipment. Some disappointed shoppers left, while others hovered around the produce cases.

I decided to hold my ground, inside the store and finally a worker emerged from the warehouse with a box of berries. With the determination of a fashionista at a department-store bargain-basement sale, I grabbed my dozen baskets as soon as I could, as tourists glared at me. I emerged from the store with a big smile on my face and a Tiger Woods air-punch of victory.

En route home we stopped at an Amish roadside farm stand west of town, just south of the M-61/Bard Road intersection; we often buy produce and pies here. The family did not disappoint this weekend -- I snagged lovely raspberry and strawberry-rhubarb pies to take to Ann Arbor in a couple days when we visit The Kids. But when another customer inquired if there were any fresh strawberries for sale, the woman at the stand sadly shook her head.

Later we had occasion to talk to the Buckeye people again. They said they were pretty sure they'd sell out of strawberries by sunset.

What all this is telling me is that Gladwin County and surrounds could sure use a strawberry farm with a ready-picked option. I know there are numerous barriers to such an enterprise; but I'm just sayin'.

1 comment:

The Mitten said...

Hey! Love the blog. Sorry to leave this in the comments but i couldn't figure out how to contact you directly.

I've started a culture/food blog about Michigan called "The Mitten." I've added you to my blogroll and just wanted to say "hi."

I also recently wrote a piece about Superman Ice Cream:

http://themittenblog.com/2009/07/06/superman-ice-cream-a-michigan-thing/

I'd love a link or mention if you felt so inclined. Either way, I wish you the best and will keep reading!

Take care,
-Quinn Strassel
http://themittenblog.com