What taste could embody the warmth of summer more perfectly than the humble strawberry?
The aroma hits you before you step up to the small shack just south of Ukiah on Highway 101. Saechao Strawberry Farms have become a bit of a local institution, both at the Ukiah location and the second farm on Highway 20 near Upper Lake. Cherries, peas, garlic and other seasonal vegetables are offered when they are ripe and ready.
These farms are owned and run by Meuthao Saechao, her husband Ou Yern, and their family. Mae, as she is known, moved around after immigrating here from Laos when she was just fourteen. “When we found three acres in Lake County in 1997 we planted. We sold our first crop of strawberries in 1998.” says Mae. The Ukiah plot was purchased in 2002 with the first berry harvest the following year.
Summer is the key time for strawberries but much depends on the weather. “We have had crops until almost Thanksgiving!” according to Mae. October is the natural end of the season.
For now seize the moment to stop and stock up on this sweetest of summer treats at Saechao Strawberry Farms.
Agua de Fresa
2 cups fresh strawberries
1⁄2 cup superfine sugar
4 cups cold water
1 lime & mint sprigs for garnish
Mix together sliced strawberries sugar, mashing slightly add half of the water. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for four hours. Remove the strawberry mixture and pour into a blender. Blend until smooth, pour over strainer into large pitcher. Ad remaining water and stir to combine. Pour over ice and serve. Garnish with some diced berries, limes and mint.Adding your favorite Rum and drinking barefoot on the beach, optional.