It's Strawberry Week!

That's not quite as dramatic (or hokey, if we're talking Sharknado) as Shark Week, but it certainly a big deal for anyone who loves strawberries. Eat them by the handful, eat them in pancakes or with a salad, or freeze them and toss them into a smoothie, but locally grown Michigan strawberries are here. But....(pause for dramatic music interlude) the folks at Husted's Farm Market tell me this year it's going a short strawberry season, maybe in the neighborhood of a couple of weeks or so. The reason: Lack of rain, and late frosty weather.

While I was at Husted's, I asked about the rest of the summer fruit schedule. I recently discovered homemade smoothies and am trying to save some money on store-bought frozen fruit.. So it's strawberries right now. Getting into July, there's blueberries and raspberries, then cherries and peaches.

Onions the size of softballs.

There's also a great selection of vegetables right about now. Husted's had some onions the size of 16" inch softballs, with mushrooms to match.)

Now, not every farm market has U-pick, which has been a favorite of parents and grandparents forever. But the good news is, there are a lot of farm markets in the general area, most just outside the city limits. Here's a comprehensive list of fruit, the markets, and  whether they're picked or U-pick, or both, and the schedule.

Roadside stands?

Originally, my mission was to find some roadside stands; not actually permanent businesses, but there seem to always be temporary structures set up, near a gas station, for example, where farmers set up shop. I didn't see any of those, and I don't want to speculate as to why that is.

I mentioned above about making homemade smoothies. Of course, this requires freezing your fruit, and for a beginner like me, this came as a revelation, but it's really simple. Take a baking sheet, put some parchment paper or similar on it. And lay your fruit out individually, and stick that baking sheet in the freezer for about three hours. Then, when the fruit are frozen, put them into plastic zip-lock bags and back into the freezer. This way they don't stick together. Everything is simple when you know the secret.

Remember, it's Michigan, and this is what we love about it.

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Speaking of family things to do...

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