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The Daily



06-10-03: Pickers just love sweet succulent strawberries
The Daily Standard
    FORT RECOVERY - It's strawberry fields forever in rural Fort Recovery or it may just seem that way to the hundreds of folks who've driven north of the Fort this season to work through the 12 acres of strawberries at Jutte's Fruit Farm.
    Rose Schieltz, Coldwater, doesn't let her 90-plus years slow her down much when it comes to picking the sweet, ruby-colored berries, which has been her summer ritual for years.
    "I freeze the berries individually on a cookie sheet. Then I put them in a bag in the freezer. It keeps them from getting all mooshed together," said Schieltz, who also makes strawberry and strawberry/rhubarb jam, which she shares with her six grandchildren.
    The field rows are damp after all the rain that's washed through Mercer County for several weeks, but Schieltz has devised her own method for keeping her legs dry as she crawls on hands and knees down the berry rows.
    "I just fasten a patch of plastic over my knees on the inside of my pants," she said showing the small safety pin above her knee that keeps the plastic in place.
    Up the field Alice Quinter of Celina is picking berries with her daughter-in-law and they plan to freeze the fruit for later use. So far they've picked almost 40 quarts.
    "I'll just wash them, add a little sugar and freeze them in bags," said Quinter, who added she's been coming out to Jutte's for as long as she can remember.
    Sue Jutte, who works at the entry gate to the U-pick fields, said most of the people who come out to pick their own berries have been coming for years.
  Jutte's has always offered picked and pick-your-own berries since the first plants were started by the late Sally Jutte in the 1950s.
   "What's changed over the years is that we sell more picked berries than U-pick. But, it's a sign of the times. More women work full-time outside the home and simply don't have time to pick strawberries," Sue Jutte told The Daily Standard on Monday morning.
    Of the jam, jellies, pies, cakes and other ways to enjoy strawberries, which does Jutte think is most popular based on conversations she hears as pickers go in and out past her at the gate?
    "Most folks freeze them. That's what I hear most. But, for me, I eat them fresh with and without a fruit dip until I can't stand to eat another one," she said.


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