Summer's red jewels are ripe for the plucking

The News TribuneJune 18, 2014 

Grant Broeker loads cartons of strawberries onto a truck at Picha’s Berry Farm in Puyallup.


Farmers and Farm Stands

Because ripening is so unpredictable, call the farm first to see if they’ll have berries.

Duris Cucumber Farm: 6012 44th St. E., Puyallup; 253-922-7635 or Fresh berry pickup at the farm stand.

Little Eorthe farm: Strawberries at Saturday Proctor Farmers market.

Johnson Berry Farm: 2908 Wiggins Road SE, Olympia; 360-493-2350 or Certified organic berries at the farm and also at the Olympia Farmers Market Thursdays-Sundays. Up next: raspberries, blueberries and everbearing strawberries through summer.

Picha’s Berry Farm: 6502 52nd St. E., Puyallup. U-pick and fresh strawberry sales at the farm. Fresh-picked strawberries at Otto “Bill” and Carole Nuss fruit stand at 74th and Tyler, Taylor; 253-841-4443,

Pigman Organic Produce Patch: 10633 Steilacoom Road S.E., Nisqually Valley; 360-491-3276 or U-pick and fresh strawberry sales at the farm.

Schilter Family Farm: Farm market on Martin Way and Nisqually Cutoff Road near Lacey, exit 114 from Interstate 5; 360-459-4023 or Fresh-picked berries by pint, half pint and flat through June 30. Up next: raspberries last week of June.

Scholz Farm and Garden: 12920 St. Route 162 E, Orting; 253-848-7604 or Retail farm store with fresh berries by the pint, quart, half-flat and full flat. Up next: raspberries and blueberries.

Sidhu Farms: 1820 12th Ave SE Puyallup; U-pick berries through June 30. Fresh berries for pick up at 15018 96th St E, Puyallup. Find Sidhu berries at farmers markets in Tacoma, Puyallup, Steilacoom. Up next: raspberries now and blueberries in July; then marionberries and blackberries.

Spooner Farms: 9710 State Route 162 E., Puyallup; 253-840-2059. Fresh-picked berries for pickup for another week, but stock is looking thin.

Spooner Berry Farms: Multiple stands throughout the Olympia area. U-pick and fresh strawberry pickup information at 360-456-4554 or

Strawberry Shortcake


•  8 cups strawberries, hulled

 •  6 tablespoons granulated sugar


 •  2 cups flour

 •  2 tablespoons granulated sugar

 •  2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed

 •  1 tablespoon baking powder

 •  1/2 teaspoon salt

 •  6 tablespoons unsalted cold butter, cut in 1/2-inch pieces

 •  2/3 cup half-and-half, plus extra for brushing

 •  1 egg

 •  Sparkling sugar


 •  2 cups heavy whipping cream

 •  2 to 3 tablespoons powdered sugar, to taste

To prepare berries: Slice the berries and sprinkle with 6 tablespoons granulated sugar. Let berries sit at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved and berries are juicy, about 30 minutes.

To make shortcake: Preheat oven to 425 degrees and place rack in middle position. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder and salt.

Add cold butter pieces, working them into the flour with a pastry cutter, or your fingers, until the mixture resembles cornmeal and no large lumps of butter remain.

In a small bowl, whisk together half-and-half and egg. Stir into flour mixture until dough comes together in a sticky mass.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead lightly until it comes together, about 30 seconds. Dust the counter with a bit more flour, then pat dough into a rectangle about 1/2-inch thick. Cut 6 rounds with a floured 3-inch biscuit cutter, pressing straight down — twisting can seal the layers, leading to a dense shortcake — then place them upside-down on a baking sheet (helps ensure the highest rise).

No biscuit cutter? You also can cut squares with a knife.

Gather the scraps, knead briefly, and cut out 2 more shortcakes.

Brush each round with some half-and-half, then sprinkle with sparkling sugar.

Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until just golden. Let cool on wire rack.

To assemble: Combine cream with powdered sugar and whip until stiff. With a serrated knife, slice each shortcake in half and lay the bottom on individual serving plates. Spoon a portion of fruit over each bottom, top with a dollop of whipped cream, then cap with the shortcake tops. Serve immediately.

Per serving with no whipped cream: Calories: 329; fat: 12 g; sodium: 167 mg; carbohydrates: 51 g; saturated fat: 7 g; calcium: 57 mg; protein: 6 g; cholesterol: 54 mg; dietary fiber: 4 g; diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 fruit, 2 bread/starch, 1/2 other carb, 21/2 fat.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie For the crust:

 •  21/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

 •  1 tablespoon sugar

 •  1 teaspoon salt

 •  11/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) very cold unsalted butter, diced

 •  1/2 cup very cold vegetable shortening, diced

 •  1/4 cup ice water

 •  1/4 cup vodka

For the filling:

 •  11/2 pounds rhubarb, cut into 3/4-inch-long pieces (about 5 to 6 cups)

 •  2 cups sliced strawberries

 •  11/2 cups sugar

 •  1/4 cup cornstarch

 •  1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest, plus 1 tablespoon orange juice

 •  Coarse salt

 •  2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

 •  1 large egg, lightly beaten, for egg wash

 •  Sugar for sprinkling, optional

To make the crust: In the bowl of a food processor, place the flour, sugar and salt; pulse to combine. Add the butter and shortening pieces. Process just until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle in 2 tablespoons of water and 2 tablespoons vodka, and pulse to combine. Continue adding vodka and water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together and is slightly tacky but sticks together. Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into a 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 2 days.

To make the filling: Mix rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, orange zest and juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

To finish the pie: On a floured surface, roll out one dough disk so it’s 1/8-inch thick and will fit in a 9-inch pie plate. Place the dough in the pan, pour in the filling; dot top with butter. Refrigerate while making top crust.

Roll remaining disk to 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut into 10 inch-wide strips using a fluted pastry cutter. Lay 5 strips across pie. Fold back every other strip, and lay a horizontal strip across the center of the pie. Unfold folded strips, then fold back remaining strips. Lay another horizontal strip across pie. Repeat folding and unfolding strips to weave a lattice pattern. Repeat on other side. Trim bottom and top crusts to a 1-inch overhang using kitchen shears and press together to seal edges. Fold edges under, and crimp as desired. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Remove the pie from the refrigerator. Brush crust with egg wash, and sprinkle generously with sugar. Place a foil-lined baking sheet on the bottom rack to catch juices, and bake pie on middle rack for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, reduce the temperature to 375 degrees and continue baking until filling is vigorously bubbling in center and bottom crust is golden, about 1 hour. (Tent loosely with foil after 1 hour if crust is browning too quickly.) Transfer pie to a wire rack, and let cool for at least 2 hours before serving.

Per serving (based on 8-slice yield): 639 calories (48 percent from fat), 34 g fat (15 g saturated fat), 77 g carbohydrates, 6 g protein, 12 mg sodium, 66 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber.

Strawberry Pepper Jelly

•  2 cups finely chopped bell peppers (about 4 large peppers)

 •  2 to 3 fresh jalapenos, seeded and chopped

 •  7 cups granulated sugar

 •  11/2 cups white vinegar

 •  9 ounces Certo (liquid pectin)

 •  1 cup fresh strawberries, chopped

 •  Sterilize half-pint jars and lids, and set aside.

Place bell peppers, jalapenos, sugar and vinegar in a large saucepan over high heat. Bring to a rolling boil, about 5 minutes. Add Certo and bring to a full boil again, stirring constantly; cook for 1 minute. Add strawberries, and mash with a spoon to break up and extract juices. Return to a boil and cook for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Let stand 1 or 2 minutes and skim off foam.

Ladle mixture into waiting jars. Put a flat lid and ring on each jar, tighten until snug, and process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes. (The jars must be covered by at least 1 inch of water.) Remove from pot and allow to cool. Allow jars to sit untouched for 12 hours. (After 1 hour, check to see if the jars have sealed. If the center of the lid can be pushed down, it hasn’t sealed. Store any unsealed jars in the refrigerator.) Label and store, preferably in a cool, dark place.

Per tablespoon (based on 8 half-pint yield): 54 calories (no calories from fat), trace protein, 13 g carbohydrates, trace fiber, trace fat (no saturated), no cholesterol, 4 mg sodium.

Yield: Makes 8 Source: Adapted slightly from “The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book.” Serves: 8 (generously) | Preparation time: 30 minutes (plus dough-chilling time) Total time: 2 hours Source: Adapted from Martha Stewart Living, June 2011 issue. Hands on: 30 minutes | Total time: 35 minutes | Makes: 8 to 9 half-pints Source: Recipe adapted from Lauri Jo Bennett

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