If you'll be abroad in the spring — you should look into going strawberry picking in your country.
There are tons and tons of perks you get when you are living in a foreign country rather than just visiting. One of those perks means being in town when it's berry picking seasons. Our volunteers who are living abroad in the spring semesters might get the chance to spend an afternoon plucking these red gems and spend a night eating their fill. Here are some guidelines to follow before you make that dream come true:
Where Can I Go Berry Picking?
Even in our Eastern Europe countries (that’s you — Ukraine, Russia, Lithuania, and Romania) you can have the chance to go berry picking once things warm up.
It’s also quite popular to go in China, Thailand and in Mexico.
How Can I Make This Happen?
If you do a quick Google search you might have tour companies that pop up, but several of our volunteers are on vacation or just walking around their neighborhood and notice strawberry fields and ask if they can help pick.
Cost depends on a few factors; if you go with a company, you will definitely pay a tour guide fee and all of that, but if you happen to stumble upon those ruby gems and ask to just pick, you might just be charged (by weight) for the berries you want to take home.
Regardless, the most important thing to remember is to ...
WASH THE BERRIES
This is in capital letters for a reason - you have GOT to wash the berries properly after they have been picked and before you eat them.
I REPEAT. WASH THE BERRIES
I know they are beautiful and tempting, but don't skip this step. These berries fresh from their fields (which could be covered in nature’s natural germs or sprayed chemically), well, they’ve just been picked and probably are covered with invisible little nasties.
This is especially important as a foreigner because your stomach isn't as familiar with another country's foods so you're more susceptible to feeling sick. (These beauties are from a market in Eastern Europe; who would have thought?!)
Wash ‘Em The Right Way!
Remember how you can’t drink the water in this foreign country you are living in? Yep, that applies to eating things that have been washed with the water you can’t drink. There was a group vacationing in Yangshuo, China (an amazing vacation spot, if you didn’t know) who all ended up with food poisoning because their berries weren’t cleaned with purified water. No good!
You have got to clean your fruit (and any other fruit for that matter) with purified or boiled water before eating!!
How Should I Eat Them?
Okay, now that we’ve gotten the whole safety first thing out of the way, talk to your Local Coordinator and search online for places where you can pick your own berries and eat them (after washing them correctly, of course).
Eat ‘em right out of the bowl, or mix with yogurt. Head to your local bakery and top some scrumptious pastry with them. Get an ice cream cone and eat your berries with ice cream. In Thailand they have a thing for putting sweetened condensed milk on pastries and I think you should give it a try on your fruit, too. I’m sure you won’t have any trouble with that part of the picking process.
Need more hidden gems on what to do on your travels?
You’ve found the perfect place! ILP’s blog is chock full of favorite vacation spots and tips only the locals know about.
And if you have a few more questions about how amazing Lithuania or if you should go Mexico or the Dominican Republic, or what life is like living in Russia (and other things like that), we can help too — come talk to someone who’s been in your shoes by clicking that button right there: