Strawberries at JenEhr are a love/hate relationship. We love the taste of the strawberries, the ripening and surprises when they’re ready to pick, the first day when one of the kids takes their empty bowl to the field for a breakfast of strawberries amid the plants. We LOVE the faces of our customers, when they pick up their CSA share, when the whole family comes to pick (and eat). Our grandmothers raised strawberries feeding several families with fresh and later frozen strawberries (later still there was some alcoholic version of preserved strawberries).
But organic strawberries are hard to grow. Of all the things we grow here at the farm, strawberries are the most weather susceptible. Temperature changes in either direction can affect the plants, rain – both too much or too little can create problems and there are an abundance of insects and diseases that can shut the entire season down within 24 hours.
Beyond mother nature, there’s the human element of strawberries – who picks those delicious little gems. When we started farming, we worked with an extended Hmong family who, brought their kids, nieces and nephews, cousins, uncles and grandma. The family was an extension of our own family as we not only celebrated the strawberries, but the changes each year with births, weddings and graduations. But after 15 years, the once teenagers are grown and off to college summer internships, the older generation finds picking physically demanding and the middle generation has moved on to less seasonal work. Finding people who want to pick strawberries is easier than finding the right people who can pick strawberries.
So this double edged sword of strawberries continues to cause us great joy and sleepless nights. And while there are a lot of things that do this as farmers, the intensity of strawberry season seems to be higher.
SO, get your strawberry on and come pick strawberries at the JenEhr farm here in Sun Prairie. Yes, we are the only organic strawberry upick in the area, open to folks beyond CSA members. Yes, we have incredible strawberries, grown in patches are chemical free (15 years now) and are weed free, thanks to a solid two days of weeding.
As a CSA member, Upick strawberries are included in your share: half share, every other week members up to 5pounds (~four quarts) and full share, every week members up to 10 pounds (~8 quarts). Anything over that amount is $3 per pound. And yes, we do have lots of pre-picked strawberries, ready for you to take home. 10-pound/8-quart flats are $38 or $5 for individual quarts. You can purchase prepicked berries during the strawberry upick hours – OR use the new fangled shopping cart on our website (wisconsingrown.com) to order and pay for your berries. Beyond the Upick hours, you can pick up repaid flats from 4PM to 6PM at the farm, Monday – Friday.