SUPPORT LOCAL FARMS AND CREATE LASTING FAMILY MEMORIES
Did you know this about strawberries? I had no idea that strawberries were part of the ROSE family until I asked a local farmer about strawberry picking availability on his farm. Apparently strawberries are neither a fruit or berries. Strawberries are actually an aggregate accessory fruit.
What does this mean?
The fleshy part is derived not from the plant’s ovaries but from the receptacle that holds the ovaries. Each apparent “seed” (achene) on the outside of the fruit is actually one of the ovaries of the flower, with a seed inside it. Source: Wikipiedia
Exploring rural areas in Ontario not only brings wonderful scenery but local farms that offer an abundance of fruits and vegetables that you can pick when in season. This handy Ontario Harvest Calendar at pickyourown.org is great for viewing when you can harvest fruits and vegetables in Ontario.
Strawberry harvest in Ontario begins in late May and can go until the end of July which is why we decided to organize our first strawberry picking adventure as a family in June. Once you see the flowers on your strawberry plants in the next 3 to 4 weeks you will see strawberries and then a further maturing stage of three weeks. After this it is time to get strawberry picking.
Picking Strawberries with Kids
Not only are strawberries DELICIOUS but they are packed full of Vitamin C and fibre which is great for Mrs. CBB who can eat berries in moderation on her Keto diet.
If you’ve never taken the opportunity to visit a local strawberry picking farm in your area and LOVE strawberries as much as we do I suggest making it a fun day out for the family. Bringing our son on this adventure meant we weren’t picking strawberries for the long-haul.
The idea was to bring him for the experience and to pick a basket or two and then move on for the day. Kids don’t want to spend hours in the fields picking strawberries especially if they are toddlers who want to play as their attention span is not long-lasting.
For days leading up to our strawberry picking trip we communicated with our son and even showed him a You Tube video of others picking strawberries with their kids. You want to get your child excited and ready so they know what they are walking into which bridges the gap between seeing the strawberries in abundance and wanting to help harvest them.
When I was searching for the perfect farm to bring my family strawberry picking there were a few things I was interested in before going which included kids activities. Since we have a toddler in tow it was important for us that the farm be family friendly which includes allowing parents to bring the kids.
You might find that some farms don’t want kids on the fields because not all parents are able to pick and watch their kids at the same time. Alternatively some farms limit the amount of kids you can bring per adult or have age limits for entry to the strawberry fields.
- Talk to your children before strawberry picking begins
After having to tell our son a couple of times why he could not step on the strawberry bushes I can understand the frustrations of the farmers who work tirelessly to bring Ontario gorgeous crops.
The last thing you want is someone trampling on your garden and although it happens tip number one is to talk to your kids BEFORE entering the strawberry patch.
I’ve brought my kids picking since they were babies. They are taught what to pick and how to pick. They each get their own basket and always fill it up. They love going to get fresh fruit!- Patricia Legault (Facebook)
Some fun activities at the farm where we were picking strawberries included wagon rides, hay-field, farm animals and petting zoo, food stand and a full playground.
Where can I pick Strawberries?
We had no idea where we could go strawberry picking in our area and a simple Google search did the trick. Not only did it bring up strawberry picking farms in our area but surrounding areas. Another idea is to ask on your social media or call up friends and family.
When you are looking up farms in your area where you can bring the family to go strawberry picking keep in mind some of the ways farmers market their farm to you. Don’t just limit your search to “picking fruits” because you might by-pass some awesome farms in your area that do offer strawberry picking.
- U-Pick Farms
- Fruit picking farm
- PYO farm (Pick Your Own)
- Self-pick farm
How to pick strawberries
Strawberry picking is far more fragile than I had ever imagined especially since the fruit is so fresh, something you don’t often get at the grocery store since fruit is picked before it is ripe. Without squashing the strawberry simple pinch the stem between your thumb and index finger then break off the berry and gently place in your basket.
Try not to drop the strawberries into your basket unless you want to pick and make strawberry jam at the same time. If you have kids with you teach them the basics of strawberry picking so the ground doesn’t end up with more berries than your basket. This also helps the local farmers because every time a product drops that’s money they could have been earning.
How can you tell if a strawberry is ready to pick?
You can tell if your strawberries are ready to pick when you can smell strawberry aroma, soft to touch and of course red as can be. Picking strawberries is very rewarding especially when you get to taste test a few in the fields first. I think just about everyone who goes strawberry picking has a few before beginning.
Although our son is a huge strawberry fan he did not have any inclination to try the strawberries because he was more interested in seeing the strawberries on the bush. He was in awe and his little face just lit up. I’m sure we hears, “There’s more strawberries” at least 20 times in 20 minutes of picking our basket.
Many farms suggest this but ask that you limit what you eat on the farm as it can get costly. The reason for the try before you buy is because customers will buy more if they know what they are getting. The same premise holds true for sample booths at the grocery store and why they are so widely popular at shops such as Costco, Canada.
When is the best time to pick strawberries?
Ontario strawberries are at their peak in June and July. But good news – day-neutral strawberries can be found from May to October in Ontario!
Do strawberries ripen after being picked?
The simple answer is, No.
Strawberries do not ripen further once picked so make sure to pick them when they are mature and ready to eat.
How to process strawberries
We picked a giant basket which cost us $4.25lb which may seem pricey but once you taste the difference between store-bought and picking strawberries from a berry picking farm you’ll understand why the price is worth it.
Each farm will differ with pricing and strawberries may also taste, smell and look different too. Another local farmer in our area only charges $2.75lb so it depends on where you are willing to go and how far you want to travel for local fruit picking. Some farms ask for an entry fee to help cover costs of the farm since farming is expensive.
Once we had our strawberries home I gave them a quick rinse under cold water and added a touch of vinegar then discarded the water. I hulled the strawberries using a small spoon just to get the greens off the top without wasting any of the precious berry. I lined a large baking pan with parchment paper and gently sat each strawberry next to each other, covered with plastic wrap and then put the tray in the deep-freezer over night.
The next day our strawberries were frozen and ready to pack in our freezer bags to enjoy whenever we wanted to make something that included strawberries. Our son actually loves frozen strawberries sliced on a plate as a snack. You can store frozen strawberries for up to 12 months.
How to enjoy strawberries
Strawberry Recipe Ideas from the Canadian Budget Binder archive! Enjoy
Overall our family had so much fun picking strawberries and although they may have cost more than what you would buy at the grocery store nothing beats fresh-picked. Most of all, the memories will last us a lifetime. Next is blueberry and apple picking for us. Watch out for updates on our Family Fruit Picking adventures!
Discussion: When it comes to picking your own fruits and vegetables what is important to you when choosing the right farm?
July 2018 Grocery Game Challenge
Join the 2018 Grocery Game Challenge (GGC) but before you do you must read The Grocery Game Challenge Rules and Print the 2018 Schedule which includes new prizes!
- Last shop June- 12 Cold Supper Recipes That Are Budget Friendly
Free Money Saving Tools 2018
Click, Save and Print. It’s that easy!
This is the budget that brought us to debt freedom back in 2013 and now I’m offering to all of you for FREE. We still use this budget every month as it helps us to see our overall financial picture.
Free Money Saving Downloads are awesome lists created to get us on track working towards reaching our budgeting goals and now we are sharing them with you.
Get organized with a FREE freezer inventory, meal plan, shopping list, price comparison list and much more all for FREE.
CLICK HERE to download all the free lists and even our family budget spreadsheet. So many free resources at your fingertips.
Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide 2018
Everything you want to know about grocery shopping in Canada is packed into this amazing FREE grocery shopping guide that has taken 6 years to create.
The time is NOW to get started saving money on groceries so please enjoy the many money-saving posts in the The Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide.
2018 Grocery Shop Results
Yearly grocery budget for two + 1 Toddler 2018: $3600 or $300/month (The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $300/year or $25/month.
Points Overview (add any other sections you need to show us your savings or that you would like to track on your own)
- Total Grocery Budget for this Month: $300
- Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $300-$13.63=$286.37
- Total Gift Cards used to date: $0
- Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
- Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
- PC Optimum Points to Spend: 3,200,000
- Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0
Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)
- Zweet -$0
- Checkout51- $1.50
Our Grocery Shop This Week
Shoppers Drug Mart
- 4 x Milk $4.27
- 2 x Janes Chicken Breast Boxes Sale $5.99 each reg $13.99
Total Out-of-Pocket $12.00 chicken and milk $17.08 stockpile
Note: All totals below already have tax factored into them.
- Total to spend this month : $300.00
- Stockpile budget 2018 : $25.00/month
- Stockpile budget used this month: $17.08
- Christmas Reserve Fund : $35/month $245 Saved
- Total coupons used this week: $0
- Total coupons used to date: $1
- Total in-store discounts this week: $0
- Total in-store discounts to date: $116.54
- Total spent this week: $12.00
- Total spent so far this month: $12.00
- Total over/Under spend this shop: $0
- Total left to spend for the month: $288.00
- Total Spent To Date 2018: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $323.04+Feb $169.42+March $228.70 + April $337.84+ May $275.79 + June $271.88 +July $+August $+September $+ October $+ November $ + December $
Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)
This week we didn’t need too much but we may need to stock up come the end of the week. We have lots of strawberries though, hehe!
Have a great week everyone.
2018 Coupons and Coupon Apps
If you notice I’m missing a valuable link please message me and I’ll add it below.
Sign up for the Nielsen Canada Home Scan Program and you can earn rewards points fast to redeem for awesome products or gift cards. I did this in the UK and loved it!!
Plus check out these other hidden areas online to get more coupons!!
If any of the links below don’t open properly please report them to my email address or use comment form.
- Healthy Essentials Printable Coupons (Johnson and Johnson)
- Danone Coupons Get up to $25 in coupons
- Clorox Coupons Sign up to print coupons in the Clorox family
- Kraft Canada Sign up and receive recipes and coupons by email
- MySavings.com Printable Smart Source Coupons
- Walmart Canada Printable Coupons
- Proctor and Gamble PandG Sign up for printable coupons
- Hidden Coupon Portals
Grocery Game Challenge 2018 FAQ’s
- Grocery Game Challenge RULES: Read the rules first and if you have any questions email me or comment on this post with your question and someone will answer you as soon as possible. The rules have been updated to reflect changes for the 2018 challenge year.
- Do I have to be Canadian to post my Grocery Shop?: No, you don’t have to be Canadian to post your shops. We have fans who post their grocery shop who live all over the world.
- What is prize payout?- I’ve changed the prize to yearly so I’ll be tracking everyone’s shop and draw accordingly for larger prize payouts.
- When does the Grocery Game close each month? Ideally you would want to have all your shops in by the end of the month for review in order to make improvements for the next.
- Does your Grocery Budget include health and beauty and laundry products?: No, our Grocery Budget does not include such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap etc. As of 2014 we no longer included such items in our grocery budget so we could see our actual food numbers at the end of the year in order to plan accordingly.
- Do you stockpile food? We don’t mind stockpiling items that won’t be affected by expiry dates or have long expiry dates but not so much food any longer as we found we weren’t eating it fast enough. Stockpiling is still great and just one way to help cut your budget to save money if you do find items that you can buy in bulk at a sale price.
- Canadian Coupons: Where can I find Canadian Coupons?: Here are your latest Checkout 51 offers that you can use to help you save money in the Grocery Game Challenge. There are many great Canadian Couponing websites online that share weekly coupon match-ups so you can plan your grocery list.
- Best Coupon Apps: Coupons are slowly fading with mobile coupon apps being the big rave these days. Just recently the popular coupon site Save.ca that mailed coupons to households has gotten involved with the addition of a new mobile Save.ca app joining forces with the many other coupon apps available. If you find an app that I don’t talk about please let me know as they are always being added and I’d like to review them.
- What is the Best Flyer App- We use Flipp on our Iphone so if you wan to have all your flyers in one spot download Flipp from the Apple Store or get it on Google Play.
- What is an FPC?: An FPC is a free product coupon which means you can get a free product as described on the coupon. Some of these coupons have an expiry date and others no expiry date so be sure to check.
- What is GGC?– The Grocery Game Challenge of course!
- How Do I Know what stores accept coupons?: If you are not sure it’s always best to call the store and ask.
- How Do I Grocery Shop?: I can tell you about grocery shopping and what we do in terms of shopping to save money and how it works for us. There are no wrong or right answers, just smart choices.
If you’ve just joined The Grocery Game Challenge 2018 get ready to look at your grocery budget by learning;
- Where you are spending money
- How much money you are spending
- How much money you are saving every month
If you want to learn everything I know about grocery shopping in Canada check out my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide! You’ve made a wise decision to take control of your grocery budget now show me your shops and let’s get saving!
Welcome to The Grocery Game Challenge 2018!
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