"Where do strawberries come from?" I asked my daughter.
I chuckled even though I’ve read enough Erma Bombeck, Dave Barry and Reader’s Digest to know this is nothing new.
It was time to plan a "meaningful" and educational field trip.
I recruited a friend and her daughter to join us, we got into my car, and I drove down to Homestead. And when I say drove, I drove and drove. Florida is one really long state. I only went about 40 miles but it felt really, really long. When you pass an Old Navy in a strip mall that looks like the 20 you already passed, you start hallucinating hoodies and believing you're driving around in circles. Old Navy, DSW, Pet Supermarket, Old Navy, DSW, Pet Supermarket.
But we made it. To the world of Florida Agriculture. The prefab concrete strip malls turned to dirt and non descript shrubs. And dirt. And cute little farm stands made of wood.
We found the strawberry farm!!!!
How cuuute. We took all the required photos. Kids in front of stand. Kids in front of display. Kids in front of hand painted strawberry sign.
Then we were ready to get down to business. We were ready to work the field as gentrified migrant farm workers.
What a surprise when we saw that they had a small fenced in section for us citified folks. They had the strawberry plants in pots so you were picking strawberries from potted plants. They were actually crowing you didn't have to bend. No bending to pick strawberries? It felt like a hunting ranch where they tie the animals down so you can shoot them.
Ironically, sitting behind our fence was the real field. The field of our dreams (and photos). This is where the farm folks picked the berries for their delicious milkshakes. And the milkshakes were delicious. More tasty than our tame self-picked strawberries. Wild strawberries. They taste better.
I bought my daughter and her friend strawberry plants ($3.75) . Good for show and tell.
We were not ready to give up on the farm experience. I consulted my iphone over some strawberry milkshakes, strawberry shortcake and strawberry cupcakes and we found another field.
I drove to the next field. This U-pick it touted strawberries, tomatoes and some leafy green things I couldn’t identify but they looked familiar.
And you could go out into the field!
The kids ran ahead while I had visions of deep wells in my head. My daughter started picking the strawberries. All green. All the red, ripe strawberries had been picked clean by the time we got there. "Don't eat those," I yelled.
So we went to the tomatoes. She picked one or two good ones and plenty with bugs.
We ate a tomato right off the vine. Ripe, delicious, DDT and all. It was worth it. My daughter saw how the plants grow. In vines and on the ground. Mission accomplished.
Then we hit the farm stand. I bought 4 bunches of arugula. $1 a bunch. And a variety of other leafy green things that smelled nice. (good for show and tell)
The kids loved the old timey water pump.
Then it was time to head home. The sweet smell of fresh picked vegetables, herbs and muddy fertilizer covered shoes and all.