Last week, we hand-prepared and preserved 720 quarts of peak-ripeness strawberries.
Our kitchen smelled fantastic.
Many of the berries came from Felzke Farms, just north of Lansing in Dewitt, Michigan. Despite competition from stores carrying shipped-in strawberries year-round, Felzke Farms, open since 1978, is the largest producer of strawberries in mid-Michigan.
So, what will your Felzke strawberries taste like this winter? First off, they’re juicy, luscious, and fully ripened. And they can be, because once they’re picked, they go directly to the consumer, and they don’t have to withstand a whole lot of handling.
A non-local strawberry, after being picked, travels an average of over a thousand miles. Because of the additional handling it endures, a non-local strawberry that’s still fully ripe and juicy is hard to come by.
Because our strawberries are so luscious, our process for preserving strawberries is simple. After washing them, we remove the stems and cut away any mushy parts. Then, we spread all the strawberries over sheet trays and freeze them overnight. This way, the fresh, ripe berries stay intact until they’re fully frozen. Then, we scoop them into bags, seal the bags, and put the bags right back in the freezer while the berries are still frozen.
What does that mean for you, when you open up a bag of Locavorious strawberries this winter?
It means you’ll taste something local, and luscious.
– Maggie Cease, Local food system solutionary, Fulbright Scholar, and Locavorious writer