I took the day off work recently to visit a local U-Pick farm, Berry Patch Farm in Nevada, Iowa, to get my hands on the first strawberries of the season. I asked my sister to join me, partly for the company, but mostly because I wanted another pair of hands so I could double my strawberry haul.
The weather was perfect for a day out in the strawberry patch. And the strawberries were definitely ripe and ready to be picked.
We ended up picking about 10 pounds of strawberries. Before we headed home, we stopped by Starbuck's Diner in Nevada. No, it's not the Starbuck's you are thinking of. Starbuck's Diner was Starbuck's before there was a Starbuck's. (Did that make any sense?)
The menu is typical Iowa diner fare -- pork tenderloin sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken strips and ice cream. I ordered the mushroom swiss burger and a side of waffle fries. So good! We couldn't leave without ordering ice cream. We both ordered cookie dough "Cyclones," which are basically Blizzard knock-offs, but named Cyclones because Nevada is near Iowa State University in Ames. Go Cyclones!
Seriously, this was the best cookie dough ice cream I've ever had, and I consider myself a cookie dough connoisseur. I can't wait to find an excuse to go back to Starbuck's to get another. (Again, I mean the diner, not the coffee, although I do enjoy a good latte.)
I've still got a ton of rhubarb growing in my backyard, so I quickly whipped up a strawberry-rhubarb pie to use up the berries. I guess I worked a little too quickly, though, because when my husband cut into the beautiful pie, the filling was runny (just like the jam). And the rhubarb was super tart. Guess I needed to add more sugar?
We also tried to dehydrate the remaining strawberries. I took my husband's advice and sliced the strawberries thin, but I guess it was too thin, because the dried strawberries ended up just a little thicker than a sheet of paper. I'll probably try to add the dried berries to a batch of granola. Until then, I'm storing them in a plastic baggie.
I'm feeling a little bummed that I took a day off and spent $40 (yikes!) on strawberries, only to have such bad luck with my strawberry recipes. But I still want to find another time to pick more strawberries. I guess the fun is in trying sometimes.