The story of the No Nos

Warm sunny days picking strawberries always transports me back to my childhood days. I was a kid in the seventies and grew up through some of the longest, hottest summers.

We were often out playing on the street with nothing more than a white fairy liquid bottle full of water to keep us occupied for hours (no super soakers for us!). However, we did often utter the words "I’m bored!" and in June that meant we would head on mass to the local strawberry fields.  I think Mum and Dad thought that it was a free lunch or in our case breakfast, lunch and dinner as we often went every other weekend through the season.

No matter how many signs the farmer placed around his field that the strawberries had been sprayed and needed washing before eating it did not deter us from devouring as many as possible. He could have said he had just spread manure and we would probably have just given them a wipe before popping them into our mouth! 

Most of the time we would get a few punnets unless it was a picking for ‘Jamming’ towards the end of the season. One such time was when we went along with our cousins and aunt and uncle. We had been there for a few hours and finally had our fill and had  picked enough for two families worth of strawberry jam for the year. We took the berries back to our aunt's house where all the strawberries were washed (had to be washed before jamming as we didn’t want chemicals in the jam!) and laid out all over the kitchen.  The adults then went to the club leaving all six kids to occupy ourselves. Well we played a while but eventually enough time had passed that the strawberries began calling from the kitchen. Our David and Michael, Maureen and my sisters Cheryl and Michelle and I went into the kitchen to inspect the strawberries. Michael said that we had better check them for quality and take out all the 'no nos' (these were the strawberries that would not be good enough to Jam). We spent the next hour or so performing vital quality control and removing all the no nos to our stomachs. Our parents returned to find about a 1lb of strawberries left. They were not very happy with us but being slightly tipsy found it quite amusing and from that day to this all of us refer to Strawberries as 'No Nos'!  

We are currently in the midst of 'No No' season and I have to say that this year they are pretty good.

We are also picking raspberries, goosegogs (Gooseberries) and redcurrants so do call in because there is nothing better than freshly picked sun ripened 'No Nos'.  

Words by Vicky Whiteley.