Tuesday, March 8, 2022

The Flowers Explore - Plant City and 3 different Strawberry Farms

This whole past week has been a celebration of all things Strawberry! Plant City Florida is known for it's strawberries and it's just an hour away. Let's go!

We had it on good authority from family friends that the Parkesdale Market is THE place to go for all things strawberry. 

When we arrived, around noon, the place was hopping! Not only was the parking lot filled with cars, but there were even buses that had brought people from elsewhere. 

They sell veggies, jams, honey, and other treats, but that's not what people are here for. No, there's at least 50 people lined up in front of us to buy the tasty treats that are available.  

I was dreading the wait in line, but it moved a whole lot faster than I expected. It took only 15 minutes to make it to the front of the line so we could order. You can just make out the menu in the photo below, and I didn't get a closer one, but the highlights are strawberry shortcake, strawberry sundaes, a bowl of berries, and a strawberry milkshake. 

Ah, this is why they're able to move so quickly. They have everything queued up to add strawberries and ice cream as soon as you order it. 

They had a person dedicated to spraying whipped cream on everything. And in the background you can see all the milkshakes they have pre-made, with some in the freezer, and other at arms-length as soon as you request it. 

Here's a look at all the treats we bought from the Parkesdale Market. 

The Strawberry Sundae Boat ($5.00).

Strawberry Shortcake ($5.00) with Vanilla Ice Cream ($6.00). We opted for the ice cream. 

It looks pretty close to the postcard they have of it. Our bowl is quite a bit messier with strawberry juices. 

Strawberry Milkshake ($3.00)

Right beside the register where we bought the treats, they also had some baked items. I was intrigued. First there's these Strawberry Cookies.  

Along with Strawberry Bread. 

Let's dig in!

The Strawberry Shortcake was tasty, and this time we have an appropriate amount of strawberries to go with it. The cake got soggy pretty quickly and fell apart. 

The Strawberry Sundae Boat was liquid by the time we sat down at the picnic table. It was okay, but didn't improve on the Strawberry Shortcake. 

The Strawberry Milkshake got rate reviews online. 

They weren't wrong either. This has the delicious flavor of fresh strawberries and ice cream. Very tasty. 

I was surprised when I broke the bread open. I was expecting a regular sweet bread, like a pound cake, with chunks of strawberries. It does say on the package that it's made with real strawberries. 
It's ridiculously bright and good luck to you if you want to find a real strawberry. 

Ian was not impressed. 
Ian - It tastes like my Silly Scent markers smell. 
Theresa - Strawberries just don't belong in some things. That's probably the worst fruit bread I've ever had. I would rather eat any banana or zucchini bread than that. 

But Alli likes it. 
I get what Theresa and Ian are saying though. Whatever artificial flavor they've used to make this was a poor choice. 

Next we tried the cookies which are coated with powdered sugar. They look just as bright pink as the cake, and unsurprisingly tasted about the same. Alli likes these too. No one else was a fan. 
To me, they tasted like Strawberry Pez flavor. 

Overall, our favorite treat today was the Strawberry Milkshake. With the fresh strawberries in the frozen ice cream, it had the best overall flavor and texture. For the other treats, everything else was just a bit too melty. And the bakery items. Skip those. Theresa was ready to throw them in the trash, but I asked to save them to bring home. 
Strawberry Milkshake, you're the winner!

Alli - Mommy, you're sweeter than a milk shake. 

While we're here, let's get some U-Pick in. The Passion Organics Farm previously said there was going to be no U-Pick this year, but Theresa was watching their Facebook page, and they just opened up days on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. We made it on the first day of picking!

But first, we stopped to see/smell some of their other vegetables and herbs. Like this fresh dill. This is what gives pickles their flavor. 

There were fields and fields of U-Pick strawberries. We chose a row and picked as many ripe red berries as we could find. 

Those look great!

We opted to pick just a small container and to buy and taste before committing to any more. 

Over at the registers, these Organic Strawberries were only $2.50 per pound! Their pre-picked berries were $5 per pound, so we're actually saving some money by picking these ourselves. 
Hi Duck or Goose. The person we asked didn't know which it was, or its name. 

Time to taste them. Mmm, fresh berries are good. These were tasty, but we're hoping we can do better. Some of the best strawberries we've ever tasted were from Oxnard California at their Strawberry Festival. We still remember them and always hope that any new berries we try can come close to matching their flavor. None have so far. 

Let's give one more place a shot. How about the Berry Barn?

The Berry Barn offers U-Pick, plus a counter service with other yummy treats. 

Instead of U-pick, Theresa opted for this flat of strawberries that's about 8 pounds worth for $15. We tasted them and they were delicious. The best fresh strawberries we've had today. They don't compare to the Oxnard berries, but they are still good. I guess it's marketing, but I thought it was a little devious that they put all the bright red strawberries on the top, and all the less ripe, whiter berries on the layers underneath. 

When we were on our way here, Theresa said the reason she chose to go here was because they had a Strawberry Pizza. You know how I feel about pizza. I love it! 
They also serve shortcake, sundaes, bowls of berries, and all that standard stuff, but I'm just here for the pizza. 

And is it really a pizza? Eh, we'll give them credit for it. It's on a cookie crust, with whipped topping, and sliced strawberries on top. There's two different crusts that are offered. A Pecan Cookie Crust and a Graham Crust. I have opted for the Pecan Cookie Crust. 
A slice of Strawberry Pizza is $4.00, while a whole pizza is $25. 

Everyone in the car tried a bite, and you know what? Everyone loved it! The nuttiness and saltiness of the pecans was a great contrast to the sweet strawberries. We also loved the crunchy texture of the cookie compared to the soft macerated berries. 
The Strawberry Pizza on the Pecan Cookie Crust wins the day for the best treat. Better than any of the shortcakes or sundaes we've tried!
It was a lot of fun coming down to Plant City today and checking out a few different Strawberry Farms. Now Theresa is trying to figure out the math to decide if it's worth it in gas to drive down again once these berries run out, or just get them from our local store. We'll just have to see what happens!

1 comment:

  1. What a busy strawberry exploration day...tasting strawberry treats and picking strawberries. The strawberry "pizza" using the pecan cookie crust sounds yummy (I like pecans!) The strawberry milkshake looked delicious, too, with the fresh strawberry taste in the creamy ice cream. Ian's "Silly Scent markers smell taste" comment said it all...I had such high hopes for that bread when I saw it pictured, too. Awwwww..."Mommy, you're sweeter than a milk shake!" from Alli...precious Mommy-Alli photo to capture those words. Fun time in Plant City! P.S. Quite misleading to place all those plump, red strawberries on top while the hidden ones aren't too ripe-looking (would expect something like that from those professional packages in those general supermarkets; didn't expect that in this hometown setting renowned for its strawberries.) EOM