Jerry Apps’ most favorite memory in June is strawberry time
June is a very special month.
Let’s start with Wisconsin Milk Month. A chance to applaud the farmers and cheesemakers who work hard to keep Wisconsin the top cheese-making state in the country.
Wisconsin has been number one since 1910, when our cheese makers took the title away from New York State, which was the country’s first dairy state. So many great varieties of cheese to try, about 600 of them. Which one is the most popular these days? Cheddar? No, it’s Mozzarella. This country loves its pizza and Mozzarella is an ingredient of choice.
June has the longest day of the year, the most daylight hours of any month. And that also marks the start of summer, officially.
June is the month of fresh peas, lettuce and radishes from the garden. Nothing tastes better than freshly picked vegetables.
For this old farm boy, June was also haymaking month. I’ll never forget the smell of fresh cut, drying alfalfa – no scent comes close.
But of all the memories, one sneaks up. Strawberries. We had a good part of it, it was my mother’s project.
We picked them up and sold them to friends, relatives and traded groceries with them at the Mercantile store in Wild Rose. And we ate them three times a day. On our cornflakes for breakfast, on shortcake for lunch and, if we’re lucky, in a strawberry pie for dinner.
My mom also canned strawberries â€” no freezing because we didn’t have electricity. We enjoyed them all winter. When an unexpected company arrived, they brought out a jar of canned strawberries from a cellar. Always a treat for those close to the city.
THE OLD TIMER SAYS: June, a special month in many ways.
Jerry Apps, born and raised on a farm in Wisconsin, is professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and author of over 35 books, many on rural history and country life. For more information on Jerry’s writing and television work, visit www.jerryapps.com.