Strawberry season returns

| 30 Sep 2011 | 09:44

Festival this Sunday in Stillwater, By Laurie Gordon June means the coming of warmer weather and the arrival of one of our area’s traditions: the hoisting of the big strawberry balloon on Route 206 at Sussex County Strawberry Farms. When the strawberries are ready, it means summer is here. Another tradition is the annual Stillwater Historical Society’s Strawberry Festival. Let’s go pickin’ There are lots of places to find strawberries in Sussex County. You can pick your own at places like Sussex County Strawberry Farms (565 Route 206, Andover) and Valley View Farms (290 Route 206, Newton) and there are plenty available at the areas many farm stands. Whether the berries are big or small, if they’re nice and red, they’re ready to pick and eat. With some fruits, like bananas, you can pick them green and they will ripen. Bear in mind that this is not the case with strawberries. Green berries will not ripen after picking. Also remember that freshly picked berries, though delicious, are highly perishable, so have a plan for their use within two to three days of picking, don’t leave them in direct sunlight or a hot car and store them unwashed in the refrigerator or a dark, cool area. Festival This Sunday, June 12, the Historical Society of Stillwater Township will hold its annual Strawberry Festival from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Society’s museum. Located in the heart of downtown Stillwater, at 900 Main St., the building consists of two sections. The older was originally a school in 1842 and the newer is a more recent addition in 1954 of a kitchen and upstairs display room. Society members will conduct museum tours as visitors celebrate strawberry season with fresh strawberry shortcake and ice cream. “Our museum and reference library are open to the public every Sunday afternoon during the summer,” said Bob Grabowsky, president of the Historical Society. “But the Strawberry Festival is a special opportunity to relax with family, friends and neighbors while enjoying the museum.” Strawberry shortcake will be sold for $5 per person, including a beverage, and the event will also feature a bake sale with a host of goodies including the Strawberry Bread listed below. “The Strawberry Festival is an event where we can really appreciate Stillwater and the spirit of our community,” said Betty English, head of the Historical Society’s communications. “The Strawberry Festival is one of the most delicious and fun events kicking off summer in Stillwater. Sitting on the front porch of the museum, eating an old fashioned homemade dessert makes you feel as though you were back 200 years ago, having the safe type of fun,” said Stillwater resident Deborah Drumm.

Strawberry Bread
2 cups fresh strawberries
Small handful of sugar or Splenda
3 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar (or substitute equivalent of Splenda)
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
1 cups chopped pecans (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans with cooking spray.
2. Slice strawberries, and place in medium-sized bowl. Sprinkle lightly with a scant hand full of sugar or Splenda, and set aside while preparing bread mixture.
3. Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt and baking soda in large bowl: mix well. Blend oil and eggs into strawberries. Add strawberry mixture to flour mixture, blending until dry ingredients are just moistened. Stir in pecans. Divide batter into pans.
4. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until tester inserted comes out clean. Let cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Turn loaves out, and cool completely.