Berry picking tips
- Always call ahead to double-check hours of operations and crop availability. Often, it’s not just berries you can pick!
- Most growers offer containers, at a small cost, to collect your berries. If you use your own containers, be sure they are not too deep; you do not want to bruise your berries.
- Bring something to drink and a few snacks; you’d be surprised how you can work up a thirst and appetite! And don’t forget hats and sunscreen.
- Avoid the midday sun. Early morning and late afternoon are better times for kids.
- To pick, gently hold the stem between thumb and forefinger. Carefully pinch and break the stem to release the berry without squeezing the berry itself.
Storing and preparing
- Remove any damaged berries as soon as possible. Trim damaged areas and use in sauces, ice creams or in baking where appearance doesn’t matter.
- Store berries in the refrigerator. Use within three to six days.
- Just before serving, gently rinse under cold running water. For strawberries, avoid soaking because the strawberries will absorb water and lose flavour. Gently pat dry with paper towels.
- Freeze berries and enjoy them during the winter months.
Strawberries: June-August (after the picking season ends, look for day neutral strawberries in your local grocery stores)
See when all Ontario fruits and vegetables are in season:
To help make healthier food choices, consider using the Foodland Ontario nutrition guide.
Five family friendly farms
(more can be found at www.berryfarms.org)
Miller’s Farm and Market Centre: Strawberries, raspberries, 6158 Rideau Valley Dr. (just five kilometres south of the Village of Manotick) 613-692-2380 (Farm)
*Say hello to Petunia in her bunny hutch!
Fraisiere Duquette Strawberries: Strawberries and raspberries, 2236 Champlain Rd., Clarence Creek, Ont. 613-488-3284
Owners: Jacques and Gail Duquette, www.duquettestrawberries.com
- 7 acres (about three hectares) of pick-your-own strawberries
- 3 acres (about a hectare) of pick-your-own Killarney raspberries
- 12 hives of honeybees that supply their delicious non-pasteurized liquid honey
Proulx Maple and Berry Farm: strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, 1865 O’Toole Rd., Cumberland, Ont.
Owners: The Proulx family has owned and operated this family farm in Cumberland since 1920. email@example.com, +1-613-833-2417
Dekok Family Berry Farm: raspberries and apples, 1070 March Rd., Kanata, just 20 minutes from the heart of Ottawa.
Owners: Jack and Mary Dekok, http://www.dekokberryfarm.com, 59-BERRY (613-592-3779)
*Enjoy the play structures and lovely picnic area.
Shouldice Berry Farm and Market: strawberries and raspberries
- Bells Corners, 3451 Richmond Road between Baseline and Bayshore
- Nepean, 2110 Merivale Rd., between Fallowfield and Hunt Club
- Barrhaven, 2901 Woodroffe Ave., between Fallowfield and Strandherd
5 ways to add sweet hand-harvested berries to your menu!
Add berry freshness of summer for easy entertaining and to everyday meals, such as:
- baked brie topped with berries;
- shake up an icy berry beverage like sangria or lemonade;
- sweeten salsas;
- top off salads;
- fresh berries with a bowl of whipped cream is a great centrepiece.
- Berry Frozen Yogurt
Whether you prepare this frozen yogurt in an ice cream maker or in a shallow pan, you will love the delicious strawberry flavour.
Chilling Time: 1 hour
Freezing Time: about 4 hours
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
- 3 cups (750 mL) sliced Ontario strawberries or whole raspberries
- 2/3 cup (150 mL) granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp. (15 mL) cornstarch
- 1 cup (250 mL) Ontario milk
- 1/4 cup (50 mL) corn syrup
- 1 cup (250 mL) 2% plain unsweetened yogurt
In food processor or blender, purée strawberries until smooth; set aside.
In medium saucepan, combine sugar, corn starch and milk; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes or until thickened. Stir in puréed strawberries and corn syrup. Refrigerate until completely cooled, about 1 hour.
Combine strawberry mixture and yogurt. Freeze in ice cream maker following manufacturer’s instructions. Or turn into shallow metal pan; freeze until partially frozen, about 1 to 2 hours. Scrape into food processor or blender; process until creamy. Return to shallow container and freeze until firm.
Allow to soften in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.
- Ice Berry Pops
Children of all ages will enjoy these delicious, nutritious frozen treats. A hidden strawberry surprise awaits in each cup! Be sure to make plenty, as these will magically disappear from your freezer. You’ll need six 3 oz. (90 mL) paper cups and six wooden stir sticks.
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 3 hours
- 1-1/2 cups (375 mL) Ontario Strawberries
- 1 cup (250 mL) French vanilla yogurt (1% M.F.)
- 1 tbsp. (15 mL) liquid honey
- 3 small Ontario Strawberries, halved
In blender, combine strawberries, yogurt and honey; purée until smooth. Divide among six 3 oz. (90 mL) paper cups. Onto each of 6 stir sticks, skewer strawberry half midway. Insert strawberry end of stick into centre of each cup. Freeze until firm, about 3 hours. Let stand at room temperature for a few minutes and peel off paper cups.
Tip: To make it easy to store in the freezer, place filled cups in a muffin tin.
MITK tip: If you would like to add other seasonal berries, put them in the cups before you add the mixture.
- Strawberry Crunch Parfaits
Sweet, creamy, crunchy and dairy parfaits hit the mark when wanting a fresh stand-in for traditional cheesecake!
Prep time: 20 minutes
Makes: 8-10 parfaits
- 18 enerjive Chocolate Quinoa Crisps
- 18 enerjive Rock Salt Quinoa Crackers
- 1/4 cup (50 mL) dark cocoa or raw cacao powder
- 1/4 cup (50 mL) walnuts or almonds or hazelnuts
- 4 Medjool dates, pitted
- 2 tbsp. (30 mL) coconut oil
- 2 cups (500 mL) cashews, soaked 4 hours or more
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) extra virgin coconut oil, melted
- 1/3 cup (75 mL) agave syrup or pure maple syrup
- Juice of one lemon
- 4 cups (1,000 mL) Ontario strawberries, hulled, divided (Tip: you can replace strawberries with local raspberries or blueberries)
In food processor, pulse enerjive crisps and crackers until crumbled, add cocoa powder, nuts, dates and coconut oil — pulse until well combined.
In high-speed blender or food processor, blend soaked cashews, maple syrup, lemon juice and coconut oil; add 2 cups (500 mL) of the strawberries and purée until smooth. Finely chop remaining 2 cups of strawberries.
In 6 oz. glass ramekins (or desired serving vessel), layer chocolate crumble, then strawberry mixture, chopped berries, then repeat. Top with a strawberry or more chopped berries.
Refrigerate up to 2 days.