A Berry Good Year

Local Farmer Discusses Upcoming Harvest

Posted: May 14, 2014

Daily News-Record

Farmer Ric Gullman looks over his strawberry crop after a rain May 12 at his farm in Linville. (Photo by Nikki Fox / DN-R)
Strawberries that Ric Gullman produces on his farm, Peaceful Valley, are available at the Harrisonburg Farmers Market. (Photo by Nikki Fox / DN-R)

When you’re growing sweet fruit such as strawberries, everybody wants a bite. According to Linville farmer Ric Gullman, the moment his berries turn red, the local wildlife comes running.

“As soon as they change color, the birds go after them, and the voles and deer,” he remarked. “It’s a little bit of a challenge.”

Gullman — who’s been growing strawberries for more than 10 years — relies on netting, granular animal repellant and a watchful eye to keep his crops safe. Once the fruit ripens, which generally happens in late April to early May, Gullman starts what he calls the “tedious” harvesting process, which lasts until June.

“[Strawberries] take a lot of work to pick,” he said. “I’ve spent hours and hours over the years picking them.”

Fortunately, his hard work pays off. Claiming that he’s never heard anyone say that they dislike strawberries, he adds that the fruit is always a hit at the Harrisonburg Farmers’ Market.

Not only are strawberries a delicious snack, they’re also healthy.

According to the Livestrong Foundation, one serving of strawberries contains 170 milligrams of potassium, as well as 160 percent of the daily recommended allowance of vitamin C.

Though strawberries are commonly used to sweeten everything from salad dressing to cocktails, Gullman thinks they taste great on their own.

“There’s nothing like a fresh-picked, ripe strawberry,” he maintains.

Strawberry Pie
¾ cup of sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch or clearjel
1 cup water
Strawberry Jell-O
2-3 cups strawberries, sliced
Combine sugar, water and cornstarch. Cook until thick and clear, then add 3 tablespoons strawberry Jell-O to the mix.
When cool, stir in 2-3 cups sliced strawberries, then pour into baked pie crust.
Chill until set and add top with whipped cream.
(Source: Joy Gullman)

Strawberry Salad Dressing
1 cup olive oil
½ pint fresh strawberries, halved
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon dried tarragon
¼ teaspoon white sugar

In a blender or food processor, mix olive oil, strawberries, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, tarragon and sugar. Blend until smooth.
(Source: allrecipes.com)

Strawberry Mojito
White sugar, for rims
2 large limes, quartered
½ bunch mint leaves
7 strawberries, quartered
1 cup white sugar
1 cup white rum
2 cups club soda
8 cups ice cubes

Pour ¼- to ½-inch of sugar onto a small, shallow plate. Run one of the lime quarters around the rim of each cocktail glass, then dip the glasses into the sugar to rim; set aside.
Squeeze all of the lime quarters into a sturdy glass pitcher. Toss the juiced limes into the pitcher along with the mint, strawberries and 1 cup of sugar. Crush the fruits together with a muddler to release the juices from the strawberries and the oil from the mint leaves.
Stir in the rum and club soda until the sugar has dissolved. Pour into the sugared glasses over ice cubes to serve.
(Source: allrecipes.com)

Contact Katie King at 574-6271 or kking@dnronline.com

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