I’ve gotten a few requests for more info about where we go for strawberry picking and about the pectin we use. Here it is for everyone!
1. Where to go for strawberry picking: Last week, we went to Lohr’s Orchard and Brad’s Produce, which are very close to each other up in Harford County, about 30 minutes from our house. We will probably go to Huber’s, which is near White Marsh, next week to get a few more berries for eating. Out of the three, we probably like Lohr’s the best. The variety of strawberries they were growing at Brad’s didn’t seem to be as flavorful as the variety at Lohr’s. Brad’s did have a fun train set for kids to play on though! (There are many other Upick farms in Maryland – Larriland and Baugher’s are two other farms that I hear mentioned a lot.)
A word about organic vs. not-organic strawberries: All the farms we went to are not organic farms and as you probably know, strawberries are #3 on the Dirty Dozen list. So it’s not without some thought and concern that we’ve gone to these non-organic farms. However, there were lots of bugs and weeds in their fields (along with bug-eaten berries) and when we were there in years past in wetter springs, there was definitely mold. The fields don’t feel barren and devoid of life. So we’ve made our peace with it. We’re not deluding ourselves that they never spray but they at least don’t seem to be fumigating their fields nor spraying the life out of the plants. There are no organic Upick strawberries farms anywhere close to us so this is the best we can do.
We definitely don’t buy conventional strawberries from the grocery store!
2. About Pomona Pectin: You can buy Pomona Pectin at most health food stores, Whole Foods, and some major grocery stores. The problem is that when you buy it in the one-ounce boxes, it’s really expensive. You can order in bulk (minimum order 1 pound) from their website. A couple times now, I’ve organized a group purchase of pectin so that we could share the savings. If you’re local to me and would like to join in on a group purchase, let me know. I don’t need any more pectin for this year but I’ll be ordering more next year.
When you buy it by the box, it’s usually about $5-6 per ounce and buying in bulk, it’s about $3 per ounce. You can make several batches of jam with an ounce. I haven’t compared Pomona to Ball pectin – it’s possible that it’s actually not as expensive as it seems because you don’t need much Pomona pectin to make a batch of jam. Regardless, we MUCH prefer Pomona because we can put so much less sugar in our jams.