Strawberry Picking at Gillis Hill
It’s been a dreadfully long time since I’ve been in this space. There have been seemingly endless distractions, both real and imagined, pulling me away from writing, from photographing, from simply being present here. Some of this pull was toward other work projects, outside of this site. Some of it was just life, never following the plans we make, and rudely interjecting untimely medical scares and tornado warnings into perfectly set schedules. But honestly, most of it was creative, the voices in my head ever full of doubt, eating away at my confidence.
Instead of dwelling much longer on the absence, or the specifics behind it, I’m going to just get back to it, back to being present in this space, starting with a morning of strawberry picking.
Down the road from us a little ways is a family-owned produce stand – Gillis Hill – which is known for, among other things, seasonal fresh strawberries. This time of year they sell berries (and tons of other produce and locally-made items) from first thing in the morning until dusk – their tables stacked high with heaping berry baskets and big cardboard pallets full of beaming, ruby red strawberries.
On a quiet morning this week I stopped by the stand to stock up on berries and fresh farm eggs. When I have time I usually opt for the “pick-your-own” option instead of the prepacked baskets because I can choose the right sized strawberries for whatever I plan on baking, in this case pie. When I first arrived, the fog was just beginning to burn off and the strawberry fields were still dotted with morning dew. Other than a few workers restocking and sorting berries into baskets, I was the only one there, and took my time choosing the ripest, petite “Sweet Charlie” strawberries, straight from the patch, and perfect for pie.
Last year I used Gillis Hill strawberries for Homemade Strawberry Ice cream, Balsamic Macerated Strawberries with Mascarpone Whipped Cream, and some individual Strawberry Honey Oat Crisps. There’s no new recipe for you today, but a sincere promise to be back soon with regular recipe posts (and strawberry pie!).
If you live in North Carolina, and would like to visit the Gillis Hill Road Produce stand, you can find more information here. This is not a sponsored post, I just really love buying fresh, local berries!