We went out to the field yesterday after work and picked these. It's still a bit of a hunt; the cold weather last week made for slow ripening. The next few glorious days of sun ought to be just what's required for sweet, sassy berries.
Yes, once again you see me soaking food. And now I will go into a tirade of why you should.
For conventional farming, it's about washing off any pesticide. However, that said, most farms around here use the Integrated Pest Management method, which you can read about here (and see a great picture of my boss). It's a way of working with the crops, the fertilizers and the soil to make spraying as minimal as possible. True, organic is best, but if you only have have your local non-organic farm, you are still making a better choice than big agriculture at the supermarket; fresher, less manipulation, less fossil fuel used to get it to the store. Chances are you might run into the folks who grow and pick it.
But to be honest, the pesticides don't really scare me. My boss is in his seventies and been eating this way all his life. Last month he was on top of the farm stand attaching metal roofing--I should have so much energy.
Because produce is out in a field, it's at the mercy of critters, birds, and dirt--particularly if it's near a busy road. Most of the stuff we grow is washed before we put it out in the stand, but only to remove the surface dirt. We always recommend that folks clean their produce when they get home.
The reason I wash, soak and rinse food is the fact that everyone and his germy brother has put their hands on it. Can't tell you how many parents bring kids in and let them play with the produce like it's a petting zoo. Or adults who cough into their hands and then root through everything. I don't bring this up because I'm trying to gross you out (well, maybe a little bit, it's more memorable that way) or get you to buy only things packaged and sealed up (we know that isn't the answer either--bought any spinach lately?). I'm just urging you to really take a good look at what you bought. It may take a little more time, be a little more inconvenient, but as it's prepared, that dinner will be appreciated as nothing short of miraculous.
Friday--a short walk. Saturday--a long walk. Sunday--eight hours of filling in drink cooler at work (a case of Snapple weighs about 42 pounds, btw).