If you’re like me, you find most store bought strawberries to be basically inedible. They look red and appealing on the outside, but they are all white and tasteless on the inside. Disgusting! If you’ve never experienced the above pictured berry, which is red and delicious all the way through, you are missing out on one of the most delectable treats of the entire Pacific Northwest!
I know I know, you are thinking what is this berry (cotton?) picking article doing on a blog recently dominated by shellfish and fishing posts? Well, this blog is not about just fishing and shellfish harvesting, it’s about the very best of outdoor living and recreation in the Pacific Northwest. So it would be impossible for us to achieve that goal without covering the many excellent berry picking and enjoyment opportunities in this part of the country.
We have an annual tradition in early or mid June, whenever they are in, to head over to the wonderful Picha Farms near Puyallup / Tacoma and pick (eat?) our fill of these red beauties. We also have a tradition of picking blueberries, huckleberries and blackberries and I’m sure there will be posts on that as the summer and berry seasons progress.
This is an excellent activity to get kids outdoors and into the experience of harvesting their own food. It’s a mindset, a lifestyle, and passion so start them young. Berry picking is a total gateway harvesting activity.
Picha Farms is easy to find by plugging them into your favorite maps app, which will take you to their berry stand here: 6502 52nd St E, Puyallup, WA 98371
The helpful folks at the berry stand will direct you to their U-pick fields. The one we visited today is marked in the above satellite photo.
The stand at the U-pick field has the boxes you need to place your prized pickings into. The person coordinating the U-pick will guide your party to a row of strawberry plants.
You can pick on both sides of the plants, and the idea is to be as thorough as possible and to not skip a bunch of sections as those berries will just end up going to waste.
Don’t neglect the ones right at your feet hidden amongst the greenage!
Also, I highly recommend intermittent snacks of strawberries, just to make sure you can sample what you are picking. You never know, each plant may have berries that taste slightly different 🙂 Just don’t eat too much or they may want to weigh you on the way out as well!
After coming back with your boxes full of strawberries, they will get weighed and you will owe some coinage. This area only accepts cash or check, so come prepared or you may be walking away sad. It only takes 15-20 minutes to fill a box full of delicious strawberries. They are usually open from 9am – 4pm, but sometimes they open later or close earlier. You should hit up Picha Farms on Facebook or give them a call for the latest details.
Now that you’ve picked your weight in strawberries, what are you supposed to do with them? First, the obvious answer here is to east them often while they are fresh. But, if you are like us, we picked way more than anyone should eat in a few days time period.
You can freeze them for later individually on cookie sheets and then later in vacuum sealed bags.
If you don’t have one of these FoodSaver Vacuum sealer systems (or something equivalent), you are missing out! We’ve pulled Salmon out of our freezer 3 years old (lost in the back somewhere) that tastes like it was caught 3 days ago. Just the other day I found a lost springer (score!) fillet from 2018, but I digress.
You can also easily make strawberry jam for an endless supply of jam / jelly in peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (a family favorite for all adventures). I need to get my wife to publish her jam making process and recipes.
That’s it for now. So get out there and get some picking done. Even if you don’t make it to the U-pick, it’s a MUST to get to a berry stand or local grocer that carries these genuine PNW Strawberries. Don’t settle for the crappy stuff that comes from down south.