“They just have to go home with us’

Choose your own season in full swing

“Yes,” Jennifer Skoggin said in a satisfied voice to her eight-year-old son, Charlie.

They picked up a basket of fresh berries and started out on the strawberry patch at Bishop’s Orchards one recent week morning. Then she descended to pick up just one strawberry.

And maybe just two more. Then oh, another.

“Mother!” Charlie said.

“Well, I should just pick a few,” she said to him, bending down to pick up another one. “I can’t leave these. They just have to go home with us to our kitchen.”

Jennifer Scoggins and her son Charlie at Bishop’s Orchards picking strawberries earlier this summer. Photo by Bem McNerney/Source

When it comes to choosing what works for you, both Scoggins are longtime gamers. In fact, Charlie visited Bishop’s blueberry patch the day before he was born. “I’m not sure why I thought that was the most important thing of the day, but I did,” Jennifer Scoggin said. “The day before Charlie was born, I was here picking obsessively.”

I must say, I understand. There is a rhythm to picking the fruit yourself that requires patience and perseverance, both of which are full of joy.

Here is how it goes. Full of enthusiasm, you buy a big bucket to fill. You bend down to pick the first berries, and think, “Why did you buy such a big bucket? This is going to take forever. Then you pick one by one, listening to the gossip around you and young children trying to pronounce the words ‘blueberries’ and ‘strawberries.’ You strategize about How to find the best berries. You’re trading tips on that with fellow berry pickers nearby. Then the bucket is a quarter full, then half full. If you have kids, that’s when they’ll start with the “we’re—we’re—yet” comments. But, if you’re lucky, the sun is shining and the morning sun is warm enough to help the alluring aroma of sun-warmed fruit drive your family until the bucket is full.

you are done. And as you walk through the fields back toward your car, you may realize that you have just discovered the best sun-ripened berries you have ever seen, and that you may need only one more perfect peach, and come fall, why not just one more tantalizing apple? And then maybe another one and another. Jennifer’s right. They just have to go home with you to your kitchen.

Next question: Then what?

Shortcake of course

strawberry pie Photo by Bem McNerney/Source

For me, the first answer to this question is always a little cake, especially if it’s strawberry season. I prefer the freshly picked small berries from Bishop’s. However, I can just buy the store. And if I can’t find good store-bought berries, I’m fine with mixing in raspberries, blueberries, and peaches, they’ll be available for picking soon.

One of the easiest options is also to buy store-bought cupcakes, and many of the people I spoke to that day said they preferred store-bought Bishop biscuits to their strawberry cake.

Nina McClure works at Bishop’s Orchards and loves making her shortbread cookies. Photo by Bem McNerney/Source

Nina McClure of North Branford, who works for Bishops, was arguing in the crowd and helping strawberry pickers the day I visited. She loves bishop’s biscuits. She also loves to make it herself. Her favorite cookie recipe is from Little Sweet Baker, and it’s a one-pot recipe for dripping cookies, so there’s no need for rolling and cutting. This year’s Alex County in Madison favors The Pioneer Woman’s Mini Cookie Recipe, a recipe that adds some orange zest.

I checked in with my friend Priscilla Martell of Chester, a chef, recipe developer and food consultant, and the author of two cookbooks, about baking and cooking. Among the recipes available online, she recommends Stephanie Jaworski’s Joy of Baking. She says it’s a reliable recipe that makes “super rich biscuits.” Also, it comes with a video which I found helpful and so I used and loved this recipe.

Tips and tricks

Martel also gave me some other advice that helped me.

She says the secret to fluffy biscuits is to use the right amount of leavening and the right amount of butter, cold and cut into small pieces. She recommends using milk and mixing just enough to bring the dough together. If you mix it for a longer time, the biscuit will get tough. Baking at a high temperature is also key. “A gentle touch is important, pat the dough into an even thickness. Cut straight without twisting the knife or the round cutter. Rolling clogs the edges and you won’t get a good rise,” she says.

Another baking tip is to use a scale and measure by weight rather than volume. Photo by Bem McNerney/Source

I asked about the difference between using milk and heavy cream, and Martell said the cream would make for a softer biscuit. And it will make it a little rich. Prefer curd, because the acid helps to rise. If your recipe calls for an egg, she says, “you get into the muffin area.” We both like a little sugar to help brown.

What’s Next?

Your strawberry picking season has been short and sweet this year. It’s over, but we’re still in blueberry season. Peaches and berries soon.

Blueberry season is in full swing in Connecticut. Be sure to call first if you plan to pick your own, as weather and crop availability can affect the schedule. Photo courtesy of Bishop’s Orchards

Bishop’s, in Guilford, manages its fields to avoid overuse, so it’s important to call 203-458-PICK first to make sure the fields are open. The blueberry season usually lasts until late August. Peaches are generally available from mid-August to mid-September. The raspberry runs from late August to late October, in a good year. If you’re making a pick at Lyman Orchards in Middlefield, call the 24-hour PYO hotline at 860-349-6015. If you prefer Scott’s CT Valley Orchards in the Deep River, the phone number is 860-526-9633.

If you don’t like short buns (what? What’s wrong with you?) or you’re sick of them (I can’t imagine, but I suppose it could), Peach Season in particular offers a variety of other fun options, some delicious and some sweet.

Courtney Davis, who was picking strawberries and blueberries in Bishop with her three sons Wally, Olly and Anders, when I was there, would use the berries to celebrate her mother’s birthday. Photo by Bem McNerney/Source

Courtney Davis, who was picking strawberries and blueberries in Bishop with her three sons Wally, Olly and Anders, when I was there, would use the berries to celebrate her mother’s birthday with an angel food cake topped with raspberries and fresh strawberries. Whipped cream and simple basil syrup. This is a recipe for simple basil syrup from Gastrum.

Kim Butler Yahara of Summer Hill Catering in Madison recommends Tyler Florence’s Bourbon Peach Cobbler. “I can’t wait to start buying peaches from Woodland Farm at Madison Farmers Market,” she says. For those who don’t want to make their own cobbler or peach pie, she offers freshly baked bread every Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. at Madison Farmers Market.

Soon your peach season will be chosen. Photo courtesy of Bishop’s Orchards

Denise Tragianese Harvey of Madison, who runs the Madison Coffee House in Madison and Old Saybrook, likes to cut peaches into slices and put them in red or white wine. “Tradition is red but it’s also really good in white or pink as well,” she says. After you put the slices into the wine, she says to leave them in the fridge for a few hours. “It’s very good,” she says. “It is a tradition in my large Italian family. My grandparents had peach trees in their yard and I learned that from them.” My sister Kathy Darlington adds that she’s great in champagne, too.

Leslie Singer recommends grilled peaches with a drizzle of balsamic glaze and Chantilly whipped cream, which is similar to whipped cream but twice as sweet and sometimes with vanilla extract too. Liz Egan of Clinton gets her peaches at Scott’s and she likes to turn them into peach sauce, peach pies and cobblers, sometimes just sliced ​​fresh blueberries and a little milk or cream. Edwin Williams Bartlett of Westbrook loves to roast with bourbon and brown sugar topped with ice cream.

Susan Koum recommends her friend Caroline’s peach chutney recipe, which we serve here. These jars should be refrigerated immediately, unless you are going to be doing real canning. If you haven’t done this before, or haven’t done so in a while, here’s some info from the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

peach sauce

Caroline Stanek Lucy Spicy Peach

Yield: approx. 11 half a pint

This sauce closely resembles imported Indian sauces and goes well with all curries. It’s also great with cream cheese and crackers.”

Ingredients

4 pounds peeled peaches

1 cup raisin

2 cloves minced garlic

cup chopped onion

5 ounces chopped and preserved ginger

1 – 1/2 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon of mustard seeds

1 teaspoon curry powder

4 cups (2 pounds) packed brown sugar

4 cups of apple cider vinegar

Half a teaspoon of salt

Half a cup of pickled pepper

directione

1. In a large heavy saucepan, combine peaches, raisins, garlic, onions, preserved ginger, chili powder, mustard seeds, curry powder, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar. Wrap the pickling spice in a cheesecloth bag and place it in the pot.

2. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook over a medium open heat until the mixture reaches the desired consistency. It will take about 1 1/2 hours to get a good thick sauce. Stir frequently to prevent burning at the bottom.

3. Take out the spice bag, and put it in hot, sterilized jars. Wipe the rims with a clean, damp cloth. Seal with lids and rings, and cure in a water bath that is barely boiling for 10 minutes, or the time recommended by your local extension. The water should completely cover the jars.

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