We are in the warm (and sometimes hot!) embrace of summer, and activity on the farm is at its zenith. One of the products that is coming into the kitchen by the basket is strawberries! We love our strawberry harvest at Elkstone and we treat it with the care it deserves. The entire process begins in early spring when we dress the strawberry beds with compost and divide plants to propagate them. After the past few years of strawberry plant propagation, we are now seeing the robust harvest that follows. During the growing season the plants are fed compost tea that we make from our worm castings. This process of using worms to create ‘vermicompost’ with which me make tea is called vermiculture. The plants use this rich source of food to grow our amazing strawberries, and it is part of the full circle of permaculture design that keeps our land healthy.
Once the strawberries are hand-harvested they are brought immediately to the kitchen where they are given a quick rinse in vinegar and water before being hulled. We then process the strawberries into our Strawberry Park Preserves right away by cooking them with lemon juice from our greenhouse and sugar. The strawberry preserves are ‘canned’ in glass jars and labeled for sale. In this way the strawberries go from field to jar in under a day, preserving the product at its peak. The strawberry hulls then get fed to the worms, which make the compost which feeds the strawberries – a complete circle!
You can find our Strawberry Park Preserves at our farm stand, in our gift baskets, at the Community Agriculture Alliance and by special order.