Recently I had the pleasure of visiting the brand new Temecula Valley Strawberry Farm in the Rainbow/Fallbrook area just past Temecula, Ca. I went to high school not far from the area, so I still consider them local to me, even if they aren’t exactly the closest farm to LA.
It was overcast and there were scattered showers the day I visited, so I pretty much had the farm to myself. One of the coolest things I discovered about TVSF is their unique growing method. They use a hydroponic system to grow their berries; that means no soil, no pesticides, and TVSF‘s method uses about 85% less water than traditional strawberries planted in rows in the ground, so the farm is pretty eco-friendly. The strawberries are not technically organic, as TVSF does use a very limited amount of fungicides to protect the berries from mold and fungus. However, organic farmers are allowed to use the chemical methyl bromide which is a known carcinogen, so always remember to investigate!
When I arrived, I was greeted by a friendly face, given info on prices and given a couple of baskets to collect my bushel of berries. It was a gorgeous day despite the clouds. Sometimes things just look more beautiful on the whitish-grey backdrop that a cloudy sky creates, and the strawberries were no exception. They were a vision of perfection. I kept imagining what wonderful things I could make with all of the perfect strawberries and I decided on an Old Fashioned Strawberry Pie. Look for the recipe below.
Temecula Valley Strawberry Farm
U-Pick Strawberries, $3 per lb.
|Thu – Sun:||10:00 am||–||6:00 pm|
5452 5th Street
Fallbrook, CA 92028
Old Fashioned Strawberry Pie
Ingredients: (preheat oven to 425°F & lightly oil a pie plate or tart pan)
1 c unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 c confectioner’s sugar
pinch sea salt
1/2 c Earth Balance
Adapted from Vegan Dad
6 c fresh strawberries, green tops removed
1 c unbleached cane sugar
3 tbsp arrowroot–*I subbed this is place for cornstarch, the only difference between this recipe and VD. Arrowroot is a type of starch taken from an herb. It is more digestible than cornstarch, but does not give the same type of “shine” that cornstarch gives to things. I prefer it over cornstarch and would use it in place of cornstarch in a recipe wherever needed.*
1/2 c purified water
Combine dry ingredients together in a bowl. Cut in the Earthy B by using a pastry cutter. Shortbread crust comes together pretty fast, so once a dough starts forming, go ahead and start pressing it into your pie plate or tart pan. Bake in preheated oven about 12-15 min keeping an eye on it. Remove and let cool completely.
Mash or blend enough berries in a food processor to equal one cup. Put the arrowroot and sugar in a saucepan. Then add the berries and water and turn the heat on and up to medium. Stir the mixture frequently and bring it to a boil. Boil for about one minute; mixture should be rather thick and syrupy at this point. Let the mixture cool a few minutes. Meanwhile put your remaining strawberries in a big bowl, if they weren’t in one already. Once the syrup has cooled for a few minutes (about 10 or less), pour it over the raw, whole strawberries. Stir them around to make sure they are all evenly coated and then pour them into your shortbread crust. Refrigerate for a minimum of 3 hours so the pie can set. Top with vegan whipped cream like homemade coconut whipped cream (pictured), MimicCreme’s Healthy Top, or Soyatoo.