The thing is, you have to pick them right after a sunny spell, and before they have spent much time in the wet because if they ripen in rain, they just aren't very sweet. So we struck right after the weather turned, capturing our haul just in time.
"We're going on an adventure!" I announced. Bella and Asher were game. We drove up and down along farm lanes over rolling hills studded with sheep or beef cows, past fields of wheat, oats, cherry orchards, hazelnut orchards and christmas tree farms. We went by the trout pond, Baskett Slough, the tractor dealer's, and along a road we only sort-of knew. It was pouring when we started out. As we pulled up, the rain had the grace to ease up a bit.
"Keep your back to the wind!" Asher advised.
We noticed that the berries were firm and did not dissolve instantly into jam as they tend to do on hot days. Maybe there was some method to our madness after all.
Now there are plans for shortcakes and tea parties and melting chocolate for dipping. After all, nothing tastes quite like fresh strawberries from the Willamette Valley. Especially not when you've picked them yourself.