Saturday we went to the Plant City Strawberry Festival. It's about 2 hours away, but Brenda drove us all so we had good company. We found the usual array of fair food there, but we were looking for strawberries. And the first strawberry treat we found was the best - little doughnuts, fresh from the cooker and rolled in sugar and cinammon, covered with strawberries, covered with more doughnuts, covered with whipped cream, and drizzled with strawberry sauce. This was so good we almost ordered seconds!
But we wanted to try other strawberry treats, so we didn't. Instead we went through the rest of the vendors and tried strawberry shortcake (just OK) and strawberry pizza (no good at all). We probably should have gotten seconds on the doughnut one, but you never know until you try!
We saw how strawberries are planted - a big machine packs dirt up into a mound and wraps the mound in plastic. Later each of the little strawberry plants are hand-planted along the mound. Apparently weeding has been eliminated.
We saw the usual array of cookware, jewlery and junk for sale, but in addition to those, there were a lot of unusual and interesting items here. One of my favorite was the Polish dishware. Each one is hand-painted in exquisite detail, and if I had won the lottery when it was a couple billion, I'd get these.
Another area was full of more historic crafts, like hand-made brooms and blacksmith items. I liked the little shaker boxes, made from thin, curved wood.
Eventually we wanted something more than strawberries to eat. We found the "real food" vendors and I got my favorite fair food - corn dogs. Woody got an elephant ear, while Randy and Brenda were more adventurous - a steak and mushroom pita sandwich. They loved it, even more than I loved my ketchup-covered corn dog.
Time to go, but we had a bit of a wait. Earlier Woody had found a Verizon vendor who would upgrade their phones, and they kept putting him off about when they would be ready. Eventually they got the job done and we all headed back home, but not before buying two flats of strawberries. Every vendor who sold strawberries was also selling big onions. We learned that it is common practice to plant onions along the edges of the strawberry fields. I think the original thought was that the onions would keep critters away. I don't know if that's true; I suspect it's mostly just tradition now. They are often called "strawberry onions" and they look great. Wish I'd bought some!
Along the way home we passed fields where more strawberries were being picked. They are harvested in the same manner that they are planted - one at a time, by hand.
We appreciate their efforts - our flats made the car smell so sweet on the ride home! It had been a long day, especially for little Princess. She wasn't allowed on the fairgrounds but she got a lot of exercise and play today, and konked out on the way home.