Strawberry Fields and New York Pizza Forever

Ellie and I have been reading the books for her American Girl doll Kit who grew up during the Depression. In the books, Kit talks about eating things like oatmeal with a peach slice on top, so now Ellie thinks that is very romantic and her new favorite food is oatmeal with a little frozen fruit mixed in. And you really can’t go wrong when your kids love cheap Depression food. But it has been seriously depleting our frozen berry supply, so it’s a good thing that it’s berry picking season again!

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Sometimes I can’t remember back to a time we didn’t spend our spring and summer picking berries on Sauvie Island. This is one of our favorite things to do as a family – it keeps the kids very entertained and is so productive! I love filling our freezer with jams and berries for making breakfast, syrups, pastries, pies and tasty snacks all year long.

Friday was the first day for strawberries at our favorite farm, Columbia Farms. The Hood strawberries, the sweetest and most delicious of any strawberry variety I’ve ever tasted, were in bountiful supply. Our friend Cara came to visit from San Francisco that day and almost as soon as she arrived (and after a breakfast of oatmeal) we set off to the berry fields. We like to put our guests to hard work, lugging our kids around and harvesting our food, so they can earn their keep.

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We have a pattern we do when we’re picking berries to help the kids be productive: one in your mouth, one in the bucket. It’s a pretty good pattern. Although I always tell the checkout assistants that they should probably weigh my children before and after so they can charge me for strawberries consumed. Henry’s rule is that he can’t eat berries out of the buckets, he has to pick his own. He’s getting pretty good at that.

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Hunting for berries is like hunting for treasures, and apparently requires a covert outfit.

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After our harvesting (and a nap), we went to have some New York pizza right here in Portland! A NYC pizza chef from Marta came to Roman Candle for a few hours Friday evening to make his delicious pizza for us. It was yummy. I always think I’m such a crust person that I was curious how I’d feel about Marta’s cracker-thin crust. The sauces and toppings are so, so good that they take the cake on this one. The Margherita pizza was spot on. It tasted like Italian summer… or at least how I imagine summer in Italy tastes.  (How cool of a world do we live in? New York Pizza chef making Italian-inspired pizza and coming to Portland for an evening!)

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Olivia looks so hilarious all wrapped up in a scarf to avoid the light drizzle that made its appearance while we were waiting for our pizza.
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How to keep children entertained while waiting in line for a popular dinner option: play with see-through doors! Magical!
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A cell phone timer also makes fascinating entertainment. Watch it count down from 5 minutes! Then 5 more minutes!

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Henry likes to see how much pizza he can stuff in his mouth at one time. He’s very well-mannered that way.

Oh strawberries, I love you so. We’ll be back to get lots more of you over the next two weeks. And pizza, you know you always have my heart.

P.S. Some of my favorite strawberry recipes, in case you need some inspiration: Strawberry Shortcake with Chocolate Bourbon Sauce // Strawberry Scones // Strawberry Pretzel Salad // Dutch Baby Pancakes with Lemon Curd and Triple Berry Syrup // Granola with Vanilla Yogurt and Strawberries

 

 

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