Garden walk

Berry Season


I pick up the paring knife, its shape fits my hand.  Blue cardboard quarts sit on the counter to my right and the colander is in the empty sink waiting to be filled.  I pick up the first berry.  With a quick twist of the blade, it's little green top is detached and dropped.  It sits on the bottom of the big white sink looking brighter somehow.  The plump, red strawberry is placed in the strainer, waiting to be joined by all the others.  I reach for the next berry without thinking.  Quick twist, dropped top, berry plopped. I find my rhythm immediately.  It's a familiar task - one I don't think much about until now.

I make fast work of the first quart and half of the second one.  After a quick rinse, I lay the berries on some paper towels to dry.  I sample one.  It's perfect - sweet, juicy, not too ripe.  Although dinner is in a short while, I help myself to a few more.  With each bite, I taste summer.  I'm immediately in central Wisconsin, some June day around the age of seven or eight.  I walk outside my grandparents' house and pick strawberries for breakfast, eating one for every couple berries that make their way in to the wooden box.  The sun is shining on my shoulders, warm but not yet too hot.  There is dirt under my toes, turning my white sandals brown.  I bend over again and examine the plants.  I lift the leaves, find the gems and pick them.  Two in the box, one in the mouth.

"Mom!"  Her voice brings me back to the task at hand.  "Would you like a strawberry?" I ask.  She grabs one readily.  I take another one for myself.  I look down at her face and she's smiling.  "These are soooo good," she says.  "They are, aren't they?" I reply.  She nods and grabs two more before she skips out the kitchen door, yelling for her sister to wait up.  I plop another berry in my mouth - it's just as sweet as the first one.  I could keep eating, but I make myself stop so I can fix dinner.  The truth is I could skip the meal all together.  The days are growing longer and I am anxious for the stretch of carefree days ahead of us.  Only four days of school remain and the calendar says May, but it might as well be June.  For me, summer always starts with the strawberries.



that totally made me want a strawberry. great post!


Perfectly captured moment, Erin, past and present.
Four more days! Wahooooooo!!! I hope each day of summer is as delicious for you and your sweet gals.

minnesota:madre | Sarah Jane

Great story.
We still have a month to go, but it sure feels like summer here this week, too.
Enjoy those berries!

Sarah Jackson

love!!! xoxo. I'm headed north to strawberries tomorrow. Can't wait!

beth billups

i think i've gone through 4 quarts in the past week. they're super yummy in plain greek style yogurt for breakfast...super yummy photos!



tara thayer

oh, hi erin. yeah. this is so good.
and you are all making me jealous of your early end to school.


Beautiful story Erin.
Only a few more weeks until ours are ripe up here.
My favorite time of the year.


We still have another month to go (for school, and berries!). Your post has my mouth watering for local berries and I can hardly wait. Gosh, you finish school early. When do they go back?


It's all we eat around here these days! Enjoy the last few days of school and please think of us as we trudge on until the 23rd!

Erin | house on hill road

school starts up again mid-August! i bet that is earlier than you.

Erin | house on hill road

and i will be jealous of your late start in the fall.....


In Florida, the strawberries bring spring. (The first berries ripen in late February.) In my family, though, we just call it 'strawberry season.' There's something magical about strawberries. Ooh - you might want to check out the book Strawberry Girl for your girls. We adored it as girls. Of course, its set in undeveloped Florida and we're Florida girls, so maybe it doesn't translate.


Me too!! I might be making my first batch of strawberry jam. Good way to kick off Memorial Day weekend. Happy summer!

Meg Evans

Our favorite pick-your-own place opens this weekend, but we're going to be out of town. I'm already planning to be there the following weekend.

My kids don't finish school until June 18, and they are more than ready to stay up until the sun sets (which is well after their school-night bedtime). I am also ready for the days of we've-got-nowhere-to-be.


Beautiful, Erin. I'm right there with you.....


Thanks for sharing your lovely recollection. For me, it's picking blackberries in my parent's backyard. Don't get me wrong, I love strawberries too, but summer for me is eating blackberries in the sunshine.


I love that story. Strawberries are nothing sort of a religious experience for me this season. Enjoy!


yep. yep, yep, yep.


So beautifully written!


How wonderful...where abouts in Wisconin? We are in Fond du Lac. Berries should be ready about the 2nd week of June. Can't wait!!!


Beautiful sentiment.


OH Erin, I can't wait until our strawberries are ready up here in Canada...I think we're another 3 weeks away. It has to be one of my fave past times to do with our girls.
I love this post!

julianna smith

Just lovely. Strawberries, summer, doesn't get much better than that!


Your post totally brought me back to hot summer days where I'd pick berries with my grandmother, hull them on the front porch, and then make jam. Thanks for taking me there again :)


I love strawberry season. And they are always better fresh from your area! I'm glad you're enjoying the delicious start of summer.


Beautiful post! Beautiful berries. Enjoy your start of summer - two more weeks of school out here.


Gorgeous post!

We're heading into winter. I just opened the curtains and saw all the frost outside and stoked up the fire. I love winter too but your post made me nostalgic for summer.


You captured the moment perfectly. What wonderful memories you're making with the girls.


What a lovely, evocative post. I'm so glad you shared this.


Time on the farm. Freezer jam. Great memories. Great post.


Love this.

Erin | house on hill road

Thanks Dad. I'm hoping to get the kitchen in good enough order to make jam this weekend.

Nancy Cook

beautiful words. though i can't say i have these memories they are the ones that my children will have as we have hundreds of strawberry plants on our property.
they have so much fun going strawberry picking every day
they are also huge fans of the blackberries and eating herbs out of the garden.


Love this post. It reminds me of some of my favorite photos of myself as a little girl. I'm about three, and am sitting on the ground with yellow overalls, a GIANT basket of strawberries in front of me. I'm plopping a strawberry in my mouth with a daisy tucked behind each ear. Strawberries herald summer for me as well :)


Strawberries for dinner, absolutely!


You have no idea how much I love visiting your blog. Thank you for giving us all such beautiful images and words. Summer already started with strawberry picking at our house, too, and I also had to write about it (with much less art). Solstice or no, I feel summer here.


Thanks for reminding me! I knew there was something coming up that I wanted to do! Strawberry jam time.


That was a beautiful moment in time, thank you. It's 40 degrees outside, here in Oregon, but now I'm dreaming of summer strawberries. Thank you for that, too!

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