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It never seems like summer has officially arrived until strawberry season hits and suddenly u-pick fruit stands pop up everywhere.  In Eugene, we would either harvest our own garden or go to Detering Orchards anytime we needed a massive amount of apples, cherries, or assorted fruit to make jam, fresh pastries, or to put away for the winter.  In Switzerland, we were at a loss where to go until a friend in Trav’s lab suggested a place she always would go with her grandma as a child.  Located near the town of Düdingen just a few km to the northeast, we never would have known about it if it weren’t for her recommendation.  Again, it takes a local to know where to go!

Fields surrounding Lüdi’s Erdbeerland, Dudingen, Switzerland

On a sweltering hot evening, a group of us carpooled out to the strawberry patch, Lüdi’s Erdbeerland (erdbeer is German for strawberry, so it’s Lüdi’s Strawberryland).  We checked in at the entrance and since we were armed with nothing but small containers and bags, we were grateful when they offered us over-sized hardy cardboard baskets with handles.  Confirming that the cost was 5 chf per kilo and that they didn’t charge for whatever we took with us in our bellies, we spread out down the neat rows of strawberries like a chain gang showing up for work.

Our cartons won’t be empty for long, though we ate at least two for every berry that made it in the carton.

Most of the rows upon rows of strawberry plants were covered with a fine black mesh and were off limits.  Workers had removed the mesh from rows that were ripe and available for picking.

Rows of newly ripened strawberries at Lüdi’s Erdbeerland in Dudingen, Switzerland

We set to work picking, chatting, and eating.  Mostly eating.

Of course, we found the inevitable “body part” fruit.  Travis was all too willing to pose with it.  He probably didn’t realize it would end up in the blog.

Travis models his body-part strawberry at Lüdi’s Erdbeerland.

After an hour or two, our baskets were all full and we were ready to head to the lake for a picnic and to cool off.  An employee weighed out all of our baskets, and I was amazed to see that Travis and I alone had picked 5 kilos (11 lbs).  For 25 chf, that same amount would have been considerably more expensive from Coop or Migros, plus they were much more flavorful, fresh and warmed by the sun.

Strawberries from U-Pick fields

Our haul totals 5 kilos of fresh sun-ripened strawberries. It’s PIE time!

After washing up our haul when we got home, we shared some with friends, ate some fresh, and froze the rest for use throughout the summer.  Considering that a single strawberry pie takes 6 cups of berries and a pan of strawberry rhubarb bars takes 2 cups, these won’t last long!

Know Before You Go:

  • Make sure you call or check their website before you go since they’re open only a short time seasonally.
  • Price during our visit was 5 chf per kilo of berries.
  • The location is Balbertswil 2, 3186 Düdingen, Switzerland.  The GPS coordinates are 46°51’58.0″N 7°11’23.5″E.
  • Official website for Lüdi’s Erdbeerland (FR, DE)

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