I recently went with my friend to pick strawberries at a local farm. The color and scent of the berries were tremendous. She went home with three plastic containers full for her family, and I filled up a bucket and a mixing bowl for mine.
After transporting the fruit home, I spent a few hours washing, topping, slicing and freezing about 5 quarts of the juicy red berries and saved some to share with my sons for their after-school snack.
Before they arrived home on the bus, I also scooted to the community garden that we share with three other families and picked a few of our own strawberries. Because they were damaged by a recent hail storm, the harvest was puny, but I did find three plump berries ready to pick.
When the kids came home from school, they plopped their book bags on the floor and headed straight to the kitchen.
“What’s for snack?” asked my ninth grader, who was washing his hands at the sink.
“Oooooh, strawberries,” said my observant sixth grader, who admired the red berries I had saved.
“It’s a taste test,” I said.
On one set of saucers, I offered them each a berry from our garden. On a separate set of saucers, I placed a berry from the pick-your-own stand.
The results were inconclusive.
I favored the farm stand berry. My sixth grader liked the community garden berry. And my ninth grader couldn’t tell a difference between the two.
Although this unscientific experiment produced indecisive results, two facts remained. All three of us like the taste of fresh, local strawberries, and we need to pick more.