Friday, June 12, 2009

Butler's Orchard

"Let me take you down, 'cause I'm going to... Strawberry Fields..."

Strawberry fields forever, indeed! And blueberries, blackberries, sweet peas, pumpkins, and everything else you can imagine. For those folks lost in the concrete jungle of the metro area, temporary salvation can be found at Butler's Orchard in Germantown, MD. Less than a half hour drive from almost anywhere in the area, Butler's allows guests to have fun in the sun and go home with literally hand-picked fresh foods at a great price.

Just recently J and I made the journey to this little rural oasis to enjoy the strawberry season (a fall trip to pick pumpkins is detailed here). Upon arriving, you are directed through the beautiful fields to rows and rows of plump berries. After obtaining a flat, we were assigned a row. This day happened to be more crowded that the day last year when we picked blackberries, but the row assignments facilitated things nicely. Aside from the joyful squeals of our younger neighbors, we could have been all by ourselves.

Despite the constant flow of eager hands and mouths, there was no lack of juicy goodness to be found. The picking was easy (says the city slicker) and even after a week of rain, the mud was minimal due in large part to the straw laid down in between each row. The strawberries were large and plump (and quite sweet) while the blackberries were enormous. I don't know what they put in the water up there but I have a suspicion that it wouldn't pass a drug test. In no time (read: 15-20 minutes), J and I were able to fill our flat with a little over 10 lbs. of strawberries. I can't remember how many blackberries we ended up with last year, but we did fill two buckets rather easily in about the same time.

The fun doesn't end when you leave the fields and for some, it may be just beginning. The Butler's Orchard market is filled with fresh produce and all the homemade sauces, jams, pies, and mixes that you would expect. Finally, don't miss the slushy machine in the back for a refreshing taste of Butlers, especially on a hot day in the sun.

To sum up, let me again use the words of my favorite four lads from Liverpool...

"Good day, sunshine."

J Says

The orange groves and strawberry fields that surrounded my hometown have been replaced by a Target, Best Buy, and movie theatre. I'm happy to see that a place like Butler's Orchard still exists and appears to be thriving. I love everything about Butler's: from the pick-your-own fruit to the quaint country market. It's so different from our normal downtown life and such a breath of fresh air.

Picking strawberries isn't as glamorous as you might first think (as a socio-political aside, the nation's strawberry pickers are some of the most ill-treated workers in the country). Bending over in the hot sun with bugs buzzing around your ears can get old after about 20 minutes. Luckily, in 20 minutes at Butler's you can pick enough strawberries to feed a small village.

I happily spent most of a Sunday baking up strawberry muffins and still only used about a quarter of the fresh strawberries we picked. Those berries won't go to waste though. We've already whipped up a strawberry pie and strawberry shortcake. I'm already checking the calendar to see when we can go back to pick blackberries or blueberries.


Anonymous said...

Wow, sounds like fun! when would you say would be the best time to go?

B said...

The "best" time to go depends on what you want to do (translation: what you want to pick/eat). Here we talked about strawberries but in another post we talked about pumpkins. I'd recommend looking at their website and going when the in-season produce calls your name.