Two Moms, Four Kids and Eight Pounds of Strawberries!

Last year I discovered pick your own produce at several local Pittsburgh farms.  The wonderful farm that I have fallen in love with for pick your own is Triple B Farms which is tucked away 15 miles south of Pittsburgh at 823 Berry Lane in Monogahela, PA.  They have so many pick your own crops and festivals all growing season long, you can't help but love them!  

Now is the time for strawberry picking at Triple B, which started around May 20 and continued into June with the Strawberry Festival on June 2 and 3.  Strawberry picking will wrap up mid June, just in time for red raspberry picking which starts June 9 & 10.  When I was a kid, my mom used to take us strawberry picking and then she would make strawberry freezer jam.  I saw a recipe for freezer jam on Pinterest and my nostalgia kicked in and I couldn't wait to make some!  So when I heard that pick your own strawberries were ready at Triple B, I couldn't wait to go!   

Riding the tractor to the berry field! This is Isaiah's "cheese" face...
I called up my best friend, Jamie, mom to four year old Josiah (who is also Isaiah's BFF) and two year old Sophia, and asked if she wanted to go strawberry picking with me and the kids.  She said yes, but with a bit of apprehension in her voice.  I am pretty sure she had visions of her children running wild in a berry field wreaking havoc while she spent the whole time trying to corral them, well maybe just trying to contain her little spitfire, Sophia.  I convinced her it would be one of those fun times of which memories are made...  And we planned to go on Wednesday, May 23.   


The kids picking and eating!
We aimed to leave her house at 10 am, actually left by 11 am (which is still pretty good for us), and arrived to pick berries around 11:40 am.  We arrived to find five or six big yellow buses from local field trips, and wondered if we'd be crowded out by 3rd graders.  We picked up baskets for the berries at the Country Market, and hopped onto the wagon behind the tractor with Mr. Beinlich of Triple B Farm fame.  We rode out to the strawberry fields and after a little instruction from Mr. B on how to pick the best berries, the kids were off and picking.

Josiah and Isaiah are two of a kind and they plodded along at a leisurely pace alternating picking and eating berries.  Sophia, on the other hand, was a woman on a mission!  I think she ate one for every two she picked, but she picked a few pounds of berries all by herself!  I was impressed!  After fifteen or twenty minutes, Josiah and Annika were hungry.  And Isaiah had reached his picking limit, but not his eating limit, and was still munching away at berries.  But Sophia was still going strong, even laying on the ground at some points to find and pick the best berries.  What a stinkin' cutie!
 
Sophia - on a mission!
Isaiah and Josiah

Mr. B came back on the tractor to see how we were doing, as we were the last ones in the fields picking.  At this point, the kids were pretty much done, and we climbed on the tractor, which was a BIG hit with Isaiah, to head back to the Country Market and playground.  After our tractor ride, Jamie grabbed our food from the car to set up lunch under a big tent while the kids were at the playground and I took Annika into the Country Market to pay for our berries.  They have an awesome gift shop - the Country Market - with other fresh produce, baked goods, a kids area, and over 100 different kinds of home made jams, jellies, syrups, mixes and sauces.  I couldn't help but shop for a few goodies for home while I was there!  I picked up some Hell's Kitchen Habanero Hot Sauce, which is one of John's favorites, and Pumpkin Butter, because I'm crazy for pumpkin anything!  Upon checking out, I found out that we had picked eight pounds of strawberries - which is pretty impressive for four kids four and under!!  Their pick your own strawberries are $1.99 per pound, which is comparable to the grocery store, but they are definitely more tender and delicious! 

Sophia driving and Isaiah riding shotgun in the 4x4.


Me, Annika and Isaiah

Jamie and I spent the next several hours hanging out under the tent eating a leisurely lunch and watching the kids play on the playground.  This year they had two more elements in their play area, a big wooden 4x4 truck and a wooden tractor, which were both big hits with the kids!  We watched the school groups leave one by one, and soon we were the last ones there.  Last time I had been at Triple B Farm, we were there during a berry festival, so it was pretty busy.  This time, we went on a weekday and it was great to be the only ones left!  We finally called it quits around 3 pm and loaded up to head home! Pulling out of Triple B Farms, this is the sight that greeted us in the minivan, and we hoped we would make it home!  Luckily, there is a gas station in Elizabeth, so we didn't have to go far.  Oh, what an adventure that would have been...  ;) 

           

Stay tuned for Two Moms, Four Kids and 8 Pounds of Strawberries - Part 2 - Jam Making!  If you are interested in availability of pick your own crops at Triple B Farms, you can call ahead (724-258-3557), check their website, or check their Facebook page.  Their hours during berry season are generally 9 am to 5 pm, while picking tends to end earlier in the day between noon and 2 pm.  Next up is red raspberries at Triple B, and I can't wait!

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