Tag Archives: Ferndale

Bellingham Bucket List: Strawberry picking

Strawberry Picking

Strawberry season is in full swing, so we took advantage of a quiet morning (and because we needed to bring dessert to a family dinner that evening!) and headed out to Boxx Berry Farm to do some picking.

This is the first time we’d been berry picking — for both the kids and I — so we didn’t really know what to expect. Here’s what we learned:

1. Don’t wear flip-flops: Janie and I both did and even though the dirt was dry, our feet were filthy by the time we were done.

2. Go first thing in the morning: It was cool and overcast when we got there at about 10 a.m., making for perfect picking. There was only one other person picking when we got there, but as we were leaving, at least six more cars arrived.

3. Don’t wear white: Or anything that you care about getting strawberry stains on. Your kids will wipe their hands on their clothes as they pick. You might too. Just make it easy and dress in dark clothes or clothes you don’t care much about.

4. Drive all the way out to the fields: We made the mistake of parking in the little parking lot behind the shop, up front, but quickly realized that the u-pick fields were way out there. You can drive back there (slowly) and it’s fun to catch a glimpse of what else is growing along the drive.

5. It doesn’t take forever: We picked for about 30-minutes and had enough strawberries to make a huge batch of strawberry shortcake for dessert that night. I think about six-pounds. Unless you’re really going for it, intending to pick buckets and buckets of berries, I’d consider this a morning or afternoon activity, rather than an all-day affair.

6. Learn to pick the right berries: The gal running the stand gave us a few pointers, including that the dark strawberries were probably too mushy to pick (she was right) and that the strawberries that came off with their stem should be eaten today.

7. Get in there for the best berries: You really have to dig into the plants to get the best berries. The ones along the border of the plants were often yucky, with the gems tucked away under the protective leaves. Don’t be afraid to get in there… and to let your kids get in there. I didn’t seem like you could hurt them very easily.

8. Make plans: Our plan was to make shortcake with our berries, but if we hadn’t, we still would have needed to eat or freeze the berries that we picked, pretty quickly, as I don’t think they would have lasted more than a couple of days on their own.

9. Head straight home: We made the mistake of running a couple of errands after we picked our strawberries and I think that they were pretty ripe by the time we got home!

10. Wash as you eat: Did you know that you shouldn’t pre-wash strawberries? It makes them go bad quicker. Wash them as you’re eating them, in smaller batches, to prevent gross, squishy strawberries.

Strawberry Picking

Like I said, we picked our strawberries at Boxx Berry Farm (6211 Northwest Road, Ferndale) and we loved it there. They were nice and helpful and the strawberries were gorgeous. For that half-full crate of strawberries, it was about $10, FYI.

Autumn of Playing House Full Time suggested we check out Barbie’s Berries (7655 Melody Lane, Ferndale). She said she appreciates their spray practices and that their berries are delicious, as well. I think we’ll give them a try! (Thanks for the tip, Autumn!)

Any berry picking tips to share?
What’s your favorite u-pick strawberry farm in Whatcom County?

Bellingham Bucket List

10 Things I love about Ferndale

This is a guest post by one of my favorite local bloggers, Jess of The Average Jess, who was sweet enough to fill in for me while I’m still on the mend. You can also find Jess on Instagram. (Thanks, so much, Jess! Love the inside scoop on life in Ferndale! xo.)

Hovander Park in Ferndale

1. The mega park

Sitting just south of Main Street is one of Whatcom County’s largest gems, Hovander Homestead Park. This 350-acre mega-park has something for everyone. There’s the expansive, flat (read: stroller friendly) Nooksack River Trail, stretching from Main Street all the way to Slater Road, an off-lease dog park, a new playground, farm animals galore (goats! chickens! geese! bunnies! horses!), an interpretive story garden, old barns and vintage farm equipment to explore, a viewing tower, and picnic tables aplenty. The adjacent Tenant Lake provides even more nature exploration with a meandering boardwalk through the wetlands, another viewing tower, and a fragrance garden.

2. Burger joints

Two words: chocolate malt. Longtime Ferndale residents know that this cold, creamy drink is best paired with a Grant’s Burger (2254 Douglas Road, Ferndale). You can get both to-go from the walk-up window. Or, eat in and enjoy the classic jokes that cover the walls of the interior, in memory of the original owner, Russell Grant. Good Burger (5687 Third Ave., Ferndale) is another great option for a satisfyingly huge burger. Try the waffle fries — you won’t be disappointed. And, psst! You can get your tater tot and cherry limeade fix at Sonic Drive-In (1851 Main Street, Ferndale) — Ferndale is home to the only location in Whatcom County.

Hovander Park in Ferndale

3. Friday night lights

I’d be remiss to talk about Ferndale and not mention football. If you are looking for the quintessential small-town high school football game experience, than look no further than Ferndale’s Memorial Stadium on a Friday night in September. The lights glow through the fog, the drums of the fight song echo through the neighborhoods, and residents arrive early to save their seats in the stands. (Trivia question: Four Ferndale High School alumni have played or currently play in the NFL — can you name all of them?)

4. Location, location, location

Located right off of I-5, it’s just a quick commute to Bellingham. Big city fun in Seattle is under two hours by car. And, with just 17-miles between Ferndale and the Canadian border, Vancouver, and the beauty of the lower mainland of British Columbia, are just a quick trip north.

Tenant Lake in Ferndale

5. Get your thrift on

Vintage Pyrex. Mid-century sofas. Retro paint-by-number kits. I do my best treasure hunting at some of Ferndale’s great thrift and antique shops. For rare finds, check out McKay’s Variety (2036 Main St., Ferndale) or Etta’s Attic (2009 Main St., Ferndale). For larger pieces, visit Picker’s Paradise (6213 Portal Way, Ferndale) or the Habitat for Humanity Store (1385 Admiral Place, Ferndale).

6. Rural or urban, you pick

If you want wide, open spaces out your bedroom window, you can get that in Ferndale. If you are more of a cul-de-sac dweller, that’s an option here too. Ferndale has affordable options for living, whether you’d like to be walking distance to downtown or miles from anyone.

Ferndale Parade

7. The festivals

Watch men in kilts at the spring Scottish Highland Games. Go to a parade and an old-fashioned barn dance at Pioneer Park during the Old Settler’s Picnic in July. And, check out street vendors and food trucks at the Ferndale Street Festival in August.

8. The views

Nope, that’s not a fake movie backdrop… it’s a real life mountain. There’s nothing better than the view of Mt. Baker and the Bay from the top of Church Road in Ferndale.

9. Play ball… or practice jumps on your BMX

The ConocoPhillips Sports Complex, near Pioneer Park, features manicured, lighted fields and is home to loads of summer softball tournaments and baseball games. For even more fun, there’s the newly constructed bike park nearby too.

10. The signature scent

If the wind blows a certain direction, you’ll often detect a fragrance wafting across Main Street. Like fresh-cut grass on a spring morning, it’s a distinct fragrance — a combination of animal feed from Cargill/Ferndale Grain, peppered with the aromas of the nearby farmlands. Call me crazy, but I love it. While it may be something that most people would have to learn to love, to me, it smells like… home.

11. A bonus (and a way to get involved!)

The City of Ferndale is looking for support and volunteers for the STAR Park Playground Project. When it’s complete, this kid-designed, community-built playground will be Ferndale’s largest.. and it just might move to the top of the list of things I love about this great town!

Ferndale families, what do you love about living there?

All photos provided by The Average Jess