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During the first week of April this year before the “Stay At Home” order, we traveled from Rockport to Poteet, Texas about 30 miles from San Antonio. We went to the Five Cousins Strawberry Patch and bought three flats (36 pints) of prepicked strawberries all laid out pointing in the same direction. Beautiful, Aromatic, Sweet and Delicious! We brought them back to Rockport and shared them with our Sunday School Class, friends, and neighbors. One friend said she would never look at California or Mexican strawberries again.

I grew up eating strawberry short cake made with several layers of very short (thin) pie crust with crushed sweetened strawberries in between layers and on the top layer. Whipped cream was often added. It was delicious even when it got soggy. My maternal grandfather had gotten strawberry plants from a person who brought them from Tennessee back in the 1930s. In 1976, my Dad retired from working in a Michigan auto factory. He and Mom bought 2.3 acres of near virgin land in St. Frances, Arkansas where my Mom’s parents had retired. The University of Arkansas is known for its strawberry research for home gardeners. Dad grew strawberries, sold them for $1 per quart, and had one strawberry that weighed a pound.

During the 1980s and 90s, my wife and I lived in El Paso, Texas. We traveled every May back to Arkansas and Tennessee to spend a week each with our parents. We would stop in Possum Hollow near Cabot, north of Little Rock, and buy 3 gallons of strawberries. My Mom had the pie crust dough waiting to be put into the oven when we got to St. Francis.

I have tried growing strawberries here in Rockport, Texas in the sugar sand of former Gulf sand dunes. The multitude of millipedes would hollow out each berry as it ripened. Last year during our very wet spring, the millipedes would blacken the walls of our tan stucco house.

2018 was the first year we went to Poteet. It was during the Strawberry Festival. No strawberries available! In 2019, we went in April to a ‘pick your own’ strawberry farm and picked a flat. They were very good tasting. However, the strawberries at Three Cousins Strawberry Patch were more beautiful and delicious. Yes, now grandpa has the help of 5 cousins.

On May 1, the day the “stay at home” order was lifted, we met our son and his wife and a couple from San Antonio who have been friends for nearly 50 years at the Five Cousins Strawberry Patch. We all together bought 6.5 flats of strawberries. Back in Rockport, we bought puff pastries to bake, make angel biscuits, used croissants, had multigrain toast, and added ice cream, whole cream, and whipped cream to top off the sliced or crushed strawberries. They were all delicious, but just not the same as the pie crust my Mom made. 

-Herman Green

6/30/2020    Garden Journals