Strawberry season nears climax

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(Host) Vermont’s fleeting strawberry season is nearing its climax. Farm stands are crowded with fresh picked berries, and events calendars are full of listings for strawberry suppers.

For some people, though, the pleasure of the season isn’t in simply eating the strawberries. It’s in the picking.

VPR’s Susan Keese reports:

(leaf shuffling and plunk)

(Keese) If you recognize this sound as the sound of strawberries dropping into a cardboard flat, chances are some pick-your-own spot is on your summer schedule.

(Woman) “How’s the picking?

(Terrill) Good with these hot days they’re coming in pretty good.

(Woman) Good.

(Terrill) I’ll take you guys to the back of these rows here.”

(walking sounds)

(Keese) For Ryan Terrill, guiding customers through this roadside field in Brookline, is the perfect summer job.

(Terrill) “For the most part people are just so happy to be out here in the sun and with their families and picking berries.”

(picking sounds)

(Keese) Terrill says some people come back again and again. Like Anne Smith of Dummerston.

(Smith) “I came and picked yesterday morning early. And I’ve already made a couple batches of jam and put up frozen some. Look at this nice big one. I’m going to take that nice big one. There!”

(Keese) They develop their own techniques for picking.

(picking sounds)

(Man) “You have to kind of get under the leaves to get the red ones.

(Woman) See they should snap if they’re ready.

(Woman) And interestingly enough, the big ones are fun, but actually the more tasty ones are those medium sized ones.”

(Keese) Some folks eat as many as they put in their flats. Others contemplate future feasts.

(Man) “Strawberries on my cereal.

(Woman) You can have shortcake. You could make strawberry pie. You could eat ’em just the way they are.”

(Girl) My Mommy takes the tops off. And then you squish ’em right in the middle. And you put ’em in jars.”

(Keese) Bruce and Carol Corwin of Brattleboro
are having strawberry shortcake for supper.

(Carol) “Nothing else.”

(Keese) They say it’s a family tradition.

(Carol) “A lot of Vermont families, when you know strawberry season, you have one meal of strawberry shortcake. That’s all you have”.

(Keese) I asked if I could stop by. When I got there, Carol Corwin was getting ready to whip the cream.

(spoon sound)

(Corwin) “Good old faithful mixer.”
(tapping and pouring…milk pouring)
(Corwin) “And you beat it ’til it’s kind of thickish. And then you add whatever amount of sugar you want to add and a little vanilla.
(mixer stops)
(Corwin) “Okay that’s it.”

(Keese) Corwin heaps the cut-up strawberries over wedges of homemade shortcake, and presents the main attraction.

(Carol) “Measure up to the usual, Dad?

(Bruce) “Hmmm? Oh Yeah. Haven’t lost your touch at all.”

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Susan Keese.

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