Orangeville, Ontario

The history of Orangeville is one of early settlement that began in the 1830s. Much of Orangeville's early history can still be seen along Broadway. Buildings such as the Town Hall, Fire Hall, Jackson Block, Sun Office, Ketchum Block, Fead Block, Greystones, and Public Library. Take some time to explore Orangeville with a self-guided walking tour. Don't forget to include a tour of the Tree Sculptures which include 54 pieces of art. For more information go to

Quite a Jam in the Strawberry Patch

By Irene Heltner

Each year, at the end of June, I go strawberry picking at a local farm in orer to make my famous strawberry freezer jam. This particular jam is yummy on toast, yogurt or ice cream! I often fill & seal small glass jars with the jam and then give the tassty treat to my friends as a gift.

On this particular outing to the strawberry patch, I did not want to lug my purse with me while I picked, so I placed my money and identification cards (driver’s licence, car ownership, health insurance card and C.A.A. card) in a small grey wallet. I then tucked it into my front pants’ pocket. Even as I was doing so, I had an uneasy feeling this action might not be a great idea either, but I did in anyway. The lure of tasting that first perfect sweet strawberry was calling me.

From the parking lot I walked along a sandy lane to the berry patch. I was immediately in strawberry heaven; my row was filled with huge, delicious berries. I picked six heaping quarts of luscious fruit in no time. Elated at my success, I proceeded to walk back to the booth at the entrance of the patch where I would pay for my bounty.

It was when I reached my hand into my front pocket to get out my payment I realized my wallet was gone! In a panic, I retraced my steps, my eyes fixated on the ground, while i walked and balanced the unpaid boxes of berries in my arms. When I reached the row where I had been picking I looked around to see about a hundred other people in the 5-acre strawberry patch. Anyone gazing my way must have throught it was strange that I combed the plants with my hands, up and down this particular row, on both sides, not picking a single berry while doing so. If there was ever a time for me to find the proverbial needle in the haystack, or in this case, straw stack, this was it!

After half an hour, and to no avail, I surrendered to the notion that my wallet was gone. At the same time I was mulling over in my head what I would do next about replacing my identification cards; all the phone calls to make. Although I hated to admit it, I was at the mercy of the inconvenience of it all. Worse yet, I could have avoided this disaster by listening to my inner voice when I’d put the wallet in my pocket in the first place. And now a record of who I was would be buried forever when the farmer ploughed under the strawberry patch at the end of the season. Would my wallet ever be found, and by whom?

And then it dawned on me. How I would pay for my six boxes of strawberries? Defeated, I trudged back to the payment booth ready to hand over my treasured berries and walk away.

In this final moment of anguish I happened to see a young man whose family owned the strawberry field. I asked him if anyone had turned in a wallet.

He went to the payment booth and came out seconds later...with my wallet! At this point I was overcome with a rush of emotion. Everything was in it; all my identification and the $50 in bills I had tucked inside. I was so happy that I swore out loud “Strawberry”!

While we live today in a troubled world where people question daily if anything good will ever happen, the two lessons I learned from this berry picking experience are profound. They are, in order of importance:
1. Honest, good people still exist, and while you may personally never know who they are, they can and often will appear to make a huge difference in your daily life, And
2. You should never ever put your wallet in your pants’ pocket when you go strawberry picking. To pay it forward and to thank the anonymous person who turneed in my wallet, I’ve included the recipe for my strawberry freezer jam. enjoy, and Happy Berry picking!

Strawberry Freezer Jam

4 c

1 pkg

1 1/2 c
fresh strawberries, washed & hulled
"No Cook Freezer Jam" gelling powder
sugarFor more recipes
Directions 1. Place strawberries in a blender and pulse until berries are broken down, but still chunky. Pour mixture into a large bowl.
2. Stir in the sugar a bit at a time until mixed thoroughly. Let the sugared berries stand for fifteen minutes.
3. Sprinkle the gelling powder gradually onto the strawberry mixture while stirring for three minutes.
4. Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir gently for one minute.
5. Pour jam into sterilized glass jars, leaving a 2.5 cm head space. Seal tightly. Jam is ready to use.
6. Store in the freezer for consumption within a year, or a refrigerator for use within 6 weeks.

Irene Heltner is a gardener, floral designer and traveller. She always tries to find humour in life, even during its most difficult moments. She believes that nothing is better than being outdoors savouring in what nature provides