Not long after the snow melted and the ground temperature slowly began to climb, this year's green strawberry leaves began to poke through the brown, shriveled remains of last year's foliage. Strawberries have been celebrated this year at the farm, as we've been scurrying to get seeds sown, weeds pulled, rows hoed, and mulch put down, the strawberries (a perennial that has already been well established in the garden) have been producing like crazy and not asking us for very much attention. A little weeding and compost has gone a long way in producing a bumper crop of strawberries. Now all we need is for all the campers to arrive and enjoy the sweet, red bounty of the Frost Valley Farm! If you've never picked a strawberry before you may not know that they come in all shapes and sizes. Homegrown, organic strawberries have a juicy sweetness that is unrivaled by their super-market replicas. Here at the farm we don't use pesticides to keep bugs from eating our delicious crops, but we have employed two guinea hens that work night and day at bug removal.  Here they are before they were let loose for a bug feast.

And if the bugs get to the strawberries before the guinea hens do their security rounds...we just make bug-eaten-strawberry art and feed them to the chickens. In parts of Bavaria, country folk still practice the annual rite each spring of tying small baskets of wild strawberries to the horns of their cattle as an offering to elves. They believe that the elves, are passionately fond of strawberries, will help to produce healthy calves and an abundance of milk in return. I am hoping that the strawberries we have sacrificed to the bugs this spring will help to produce healthy, bug free produce for the rest of the summer.   Strawberries have many culinary friends (chocolate and shortcake are a couple of my fav's), but who can resist the classic spring pairing of strawberries and rhubarb?  The elephantine rhubarb growing in the garden is a perfect match! Right now you may be asking yourself, "what is more exciting than strawberry-rhubarb sauce on vanilla bean ice cream with whipped cream?" I'll tell you what- CAMP STARTS TOMORROW!! Pretty soon the kids will be as prolific as the strawberries and the real magic of the Frost Valley Farm will begin again!

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andyszymczak

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