June 20, 2011


Pickers delight in sweet treat

Red, ripe strawberries lure many to Preble organic farm

UttechJoe McIntyre/staff photographer
Strawberry picking partners Myah Pettiford, 3, left, and Owen Reckess, 3, of Syracuse work together Saturday at Cobblestone Valley Farm in Preble. The farm has eight varieties of strawberries on 3 acres.

Staff Reporter

PREBLE — Children and adults weaved in and out of rows of strawberries Saturday, filling their buckets and Tupperware containers with ripe berries at Cobblestone Valley Farms.
The farm is organic. It does not use pesticides and instead keeps away varmints through more natural means, such as growing vegetation that naturally deters the pests.
The organic aspect of the farm drew many pickers Saturday.
David Reckess of Syracuse came with his 3-year-old son Owen and his friends and their children. He said he felt safe letting the toddlers roam the rows of berries, since he knows there are no pesticides.
“I feel confident letting them run free and letting them eat as much as they want,” Reckess said.
His friend Dina Pettiford of Jamesville was watching over her 3-year old daughter Myah. Pettiford planned on making a smoothie with the berries later.
Mike Canestaro of Cortland said he came to the farm Saturday but was not sure if it was open. He and his wife, Lori, just “took a ride hoping to find it,” Canestaro said.
“I like to go at least once a year,” Canestaro said, adding he has no particular preference for how he eats the strawberries, that he will eat them whatever way they are prepared.
He added that he will have plenty to eat, since his wife does not even like the fruit. She only enjoys the picking.
Colleen Kattau, a resident of the Commonplace Land Trust in Truxton, said she came to pick strawberries for a solstice celebration the land trust holds every June.
“They are the first berries of the season so they correspond well to the summer solstice and the coming of the productive season,” Kattau said.
Kattau said the berries will be available to accompany shortcake or the pancake breakfast in the morning.
Scott Luscombe, also a land trust resident, said the organic farm appealed to them.
“We are trying to keep chemicals out of our bodies. You can grow things just as easily without pesticides,” Luscombe said, adding he did not mind rifling through weeds to get to the strawberries.
Anna Cruikshank of Georgetown, said she knew of Knapp Farms because she works as a registered nurse in Tully.
Cruikshank planned to make strawberry shortcake and jam from her berries and freeze the rest.
Cruikshank said she has been picking strawberries at the farm for four years, calling it a “great thing to do.”
“There is nothing like fresh strawberries,” she said, adding the absence of pesticides makes them a lot healthier.

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