|Kemps Farm - the Pick Your Own|
Six weeks ago it was not clear whether I would be able to make strawberry wine this year. With all but essential shops closed and everyone self-isolating to conquer Covid 19, it seemed unlikely that a Pick Your Own farm in Horsforth would be open. However, there has been a relaxing of rules since June, and from 4th July pubs, restaurants and hairdressers were allowed to trade again. Compared to these, squatting in a field, picking strawberries, strikes me as a low risk activity. Safety measures have been put in place, however. Entrance was by ticket only (at a cost of £2, which I do think is a cheek - but I am supporting a local business) and I had to book my slot so that the Farm could stagger its customers.
I chose 10 a.m. on Sunday morning, 5th July, and was the first to arrive (at about ten to). The farmer looked at my baskets, said "You look like a serious picker" and directed me to what he said was the best field. I had it to myself for about the first half hour and this year the fruit was far better than last. It was more plentiful and riper, and I did not feel like I had to fight for each strawberry.
Picking strawberries for nearly an hour, watching clouds scudding across the blue sky, was a pleasant way to spend Sunday morning - though crouching for that length of time is never comfortable. Of course I picked far more than the 4 lbs I needed for this recipe and 1 lb for a wine later in the year.
Back at home I washed the strawberries twice, hulling them in the process. I put 4 lbs in my bucket, mashed them and poured over 4 pints of boiling water. On Monday I sieved the fruit out, putting this into a separate bowl (the liquid stored temporarily in a demijohn) and covered the fruit in 2 pints of cold water. About an hour later I drained the fruit again - keeping this liquid for the wine - and I put the fruit pulp on the compost.
All liquid went into the bucket with 3 lbs sugar and a teaspoon each of yeast, nutrient, pectolase and tannin. On Friday 10th July it all went into the demijohn and is a pleasing light red.