Here at Honeygirl Meadery we enjoy working with a number of local farmers and beekeepers who provide some of the fruit and honey that we use to create our artisanal meads. One of the farms we frequent is McAdams Farm in Efland, which is owned and farmed by Howard and Karen McAdams. We head there each spring to pick about 200 pounds of berries for our strawberry mead. This harvest will yield somewhere around 100 gallons of mead.
McAdams Farm was established in 1885. Originally the family grew tobacco as their cash crop. In 2000, they replaced tobacco with strawberries. The varietal the McAdams grow with the help of honeybees who pollinate the blossoms is called Chandler. Chandler Strawberries have a distinctive, intense flavor and a sweetness that lends itself perfectly to mead.
On May Day our mead maker, Diane stopped by McAdams Farm to do some picking and had a quick chat with Howard.
Diane: How’s the strawberry season this year?
Howard: Well, usually the season is about 4-6 weeks, last year it was 7 weeks. In North Carolina our season is usually the month of May. This is our second week of picking. It’s about 4 weeks from flower to berry. So we are probably looking at about 4 more weeks of picking.
Diane: Why do we get the funny shapes?
Howard: I really don’t know why, but I suspect it has to do with pollination.
Diane: What’s the weirdest shape you’ve seen, any George Washington heads, that sort of thing?
Howard: The only George Washington heads that we see are on the $1 dollar bills we get.
On May 13th we release our 2017 Honeygirl Strawberry Mead. Stop by the tasting room or find us at a local farmers’ market, we only have 40 cases and they are sure to go quickly.