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Strawberry Picking @ Downey’s Farm

Strawberry fields forever! Yesterday I went strawberry picking for the first time! After years of wanting to do it but never getting my act together, I decided that there was no better time than the present! So I loaded into a car with my friends and we headed to Downey’s Farm.

Being new to the strawberry picking experience, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised and kinda felt like I found my calling! I’m not gonna brag but between the five baskets that me and my two other friends had to fill, I filled up three out of those in the same amount of time that my friends filled one basket...not to mention that my strawberries were also ruby red and perfectly plump!

Am I destined to be a strawberry farmer?! Time will tell I suppose, but at this point in time I think I’m better off starting with a little strawberry garden first.

Anyways, picking hours are between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. but we arrived at the farm around 10 a.m. While it was a hot and sunny day, the heat was still fairly bearable at that time⁠—thank goodness! Another bonus of going to the farm in the morning is that there aren’t a lot of early risers out there in the fields with you, leaving more beautiful berries for you to pick. In short, arrive early!

After taking the obligatory photo op in front of the Downey’s Farm sign, we headed past the entrance and were greeted by a billy goat that was walking on a lil bridge overhead us. Further beyond that was the entrance to the strawberry field. Admission costs are based on what size basket of strawberries you choose to pick. My friends and I choose small (2L) and medium baskets (4L) for $10 and $20, respectively.

After a scenic walk through the barn covering and into the farm grounds, beyond a budding pumpkin patch and rows of still-blooming raspberry plants, we reached the vast strawberry field. Man, did it smell sweet! Like a berry burst explosion, the faint smell of strawberry perfumed the air around us and enticed us to get to work.

Scattered in between the neatly groomed columns of berries, we took a bunch of pictures and then picked, picked and picked some more! Note that if you are a strawberry-picking machine like I am, filling your baskets won’t take super long. We were probably picking berries for maybe a half hour.

Once all the berry foraging was done, we took our yield back to our car and then masked ourselves up so we could take a peek inside the shop and go grab a strawberry lemonade!

Refreshing and just subtly sweet, the lemonade hit the spot after working up some sweat on our brow! It was also excellent to nurse while standing in line under the sun waiting to enter the shop.

Always an exciting time for me, I love picking up jams and produce at the farmer’s market. While I wanted to grab some beautiful green beans, I decided to indulge my sweet tooth instead! Little Miss Honey + Truffles picked up a chunk of honeycomb, caramelized onion tapenade and a bottle of gooseberry wine. My friends also picked up some hard apple cider and strawberry cider, both with an alcohol content of 7%⁠—a bozzy bevy that’s a surefire way to unwind!

Happy with all of our purchases, we packed up a tiny bushel of strawberries, a piece of honeycomb, strawberry cider and some whipped truffle mascarpone that I made the other day and biked over to our local park for a picnic of absolute bliss. Biting into a tiny, red strawberry, I was reminded of how much I love strawberries⁠—fresh, organic strawberries that are no bigger than the tip of your thumb! These berries were so incredibly sweet and full of flavour!

Post picnic, I was all riled up to start using my berries for fun summertime treats which you can find in the recipe section! Naturally, strawberry jam is a great way to use seasonal strawberries and preserve them for you to enjoy in the colder weather. However, sorbet is an amazing way to keep yourself cool and enjoy your yield during the summer! I also froze some berries which will be great to toss into a spritzer or muddle for a cocktail!

If you have never been strawberry picking, I strongly encourage you to give it a try! I had such a blast picking my own fruit and I think that’s what made each berry bite even sweeter. You’re guaranteed to share a bunch of laughs that will paint lovely summertime memories in your mind forever!

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