Hunters and Gatherers


Recently it seems that everyone has been talking about some economic crisis. I’m like, hello, that’s life for a college student every day. I’m a cheap date. I like cheap fun. Now I want to share it with you.

During the summer, when my friends and I had to put away the beer bongs for more socially and parentally accepted activities, we discovered the great joys of pick-your-own fruit.

Like some of us here at ES, I don’t know what to do with a plethora of fruit, besides boring fruit salad. Mostly, my friends and I just enjoy being together, getting a tan, and eating the fruit as we wonder aimlessly around the orchards. However, if you are a fruit wrangler (baker, whatever they call you people), picking your own fruit is not only fun; it’s an easy way to get local, fresh, ingredients, and is definitely a cheap day out for the entire family (you can even bring the kids..if you want). Yes, I said easy. Don’t let gansie fool you, it’s actually not that hard. I wouldn’t partake in any outdoor activity that required perspiring just for fun.

Here in the Northeast, strawberry season will soon be in full swing. In a few more weeks, apples, peaches, cherries, blueberries, raspberries and MANY more will come into season, and you can actually pick many of these yourselves. Harvesting isn’t just for apples, people!

To find out what is available in your area, I’d suggest checking out, which has regional harvest calendars and contact information for local pick-your-own farms.

Oh, and one last thing…Please, PLEASE tell us, just what DO you do with all of that fruit? We’re gonna need some ideas!

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  • erica May 28, 2009  

    my favorite summer use for fresh fruit: cut it up, freeze it (if bananas remove the peel first), pull it out of the freezer, let sit for 20 mins, food process it until it’s a sorbet. you can add sugar, liquor, whatever you like. also sauces and salad dressings are super easy – try blending it up with vinegars, etc. for example: fresh plums + garlic + agave + salt, blended = AMAZING on skewers. you can dry it, whole fruit or try and make fruit leather. make fruit soups (like a sweet – or not – gazpacho).

    (i’m in Portland, OR and my strawberry patch is going INSANE right now)

  • ML May 28, 2009  


    I’m there.

  • Maids May 28, 2009  

    smoothies…. lassis…. fruit salads
    I’m such a fruit bat, I could eat it all day long.

  • EV May 28, 2009  

    I spread out a sugar cookie crust (make it or buy it) on a cookie sheet or pizza pan, bake it, then spread some mixed-up cream cheese, sugar and dash of vanilla over the top. Slice up fruit and make a fruit pizza.

  • Martha May 28, 2009  

    Tarts, pies, buckles, cobblers, slumps, claufoutis, sorbets, ice creams, semifreddos – so many options! My favorite for a taste of summer in January are jams & preserves which are great for using up super ripe/verge of spoiling fruit and are actually pretty simple to make.

    When all else fails, toss just about any fruit in a blender with some ice and a healthy glug of tequila…done and done.

  • C. Christy Concrete May 28, 2009  

    My Mom likes to put strawberries in her wine.

  • NeeNee May 28, 2009  

    @ Fruit Bat – Lassi? How do you make them?

  • ladygoat May 28, 2009  

    My parents would take us out to pick fruit all the time, and we’d always have a blast. I second the jams and preserves, but a plethora of fruit always puts me in the mind for sangria too.

  • ML May 28, 2009  

    fruit+booze= happy ML

    I knew this would come full circle somehow.

    You guys are the best.

  • mary lou May 29, 2009  

    tarts are wonderful and easy summer desserts. bake a frozen pie crust, cool and top with any type of pudding, layer fruit, dirzzle w/chocolate and brush with simple syrup

  • ML May 29, 2009  

    mary lou (MOM), when have you ever made one of those?


  • erica May 29, 2009  

    fruit + booze is as timeless a combo as hookers + sailors.

  • Harmony May 29, 2009  

    Fresh blueberries are for blueberry muffins, pancakes, and blueberry cheesecake bars. Fresh strawberries are just for eating or if you must do something, shortcake. Fresh apples are for apple cake and apple crumble. Any mix of berries is also good for muffin and pancakes as well or a mixed berry crumble. A crumble should be easy for all you non-bakers. It’s just fruit and sugar, liberally sprinkled with a brown sugar/flour/butter/spices and if you want crushed nut mixture. Another favorite use for apples is to peel them, slice them up thick, at least once inch slices, add a Tbs of butter and some cinnamon and a Tbs. of water and simmer for about 5 minutes. Yum!

  • Peter Justason June 3, 2009  

    For those living in Eastern PA, None Such Farm in Buckingham, Bucks Co., just started PYO strawberries this past weekend. Open M-S 8:00 Am to Noon and M-W-F 5pm -8pm. Donna and I went to their market this weekend for already picked strawberries and made daiquiris and shortcakes 4 different ways. You can read about the outcome at

  • ML June 3, 2009  

    Its so funny you would mention None Such Farm- my parents used to take me there for PYO pumpkins when I was just two or three years old!

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