Whole fruit and sweetener like sugar and honey combine to make fresh strawberry milk. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)

Whole fruit and sweetener like sugar and honey combine to make fresh strawberry milk. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)

On the strawberry patch: Not your average strawberry milk

Local fruit adds depth to summertime favorite

As harvest season is quickly approaching, my friends down south have started making plans (and some have even made reservations!) to drive their children to faraway farms for the opportunity to pluck apples straight from the trees.

Tickets to these “you pick” farms are sometimes expensive, and are always in high demand, as parents around the country plan outfits and hairstyles for photo ops with their children amongst the pumpkins and hay.

For many, the hassle and expense are too much to pay in exchange for some fruit and a family photo, but we are lucky enough to have a charming farm right here in Nikiski, far away from the crowds and overdressed influencers with their camera crews. We visited O’Brien’s Garden and Trees this past Thursday and came back with an abundance of fruit and berry-stained children.

Their strawberries are particularly beautiful and bountiful this year. They inspired me to make a drink I used to buy as a snack on my way home from school in Seoul: strawberry milk.

This version isn’t like the Nesquik strawberry milk you might be thinking of. It isn’t nearly as sweet and contains whole chunks of strawberries instead of being completely smooth. Some of us may not enjoy drinking a beverage with floating chunks and various textures (not a single empty glass on the kids’ table … ouch), so to make this more universally palatable try adding another couple teaspoons of sugar and blend everything until smooth.

Ingredients for 4 servings:

3 cups fresh local strawberries

4 cups milk (anything but skim — the texture would be too watery)

3 teaspoons sugar or sugar substitute (local honey would be excellent)


Mash or blend 2 cups of the strawberries, add the sugar, and heat until boiling.

Boil until the texture is thick and sticky like syrup, about 7-10 minutes, stirring near constantly to avoid burning.

Refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour.

While the mash is cooling, cut the remaining strawberries into pea-sized chunks and set aside.

When you are ready to serve, spoon ¼ of the strawberry mash into the bottom of each glass, then slowly and very gently pour the milk on top trying not to mix too much.

Top with the berry chunks and serve with a spoon.

O’Brien’s farm produces a plethora of fruits and vegetables throughout the summer and fall (check their Facebook page for the latest on what’s ripe and ready).

This week we got peaches, plums, so many pie cherries, garlic, and haskaps. We froze most of it to enjoy throughout the year in pies and yogurt parfaits (my little guy has yogurt with local berries for breakfast at least three times a week all year long).

The apples will be ready much later in the fall, but I have already picked my son’s outfit for the all-important and oh-so-cheesy photos my grandma will be wanting to see.

Last year he was in a carrier for our apple picking, and we had to make applesauce for him to eat with his one little nub of a tooth, but this year he will run and hop through the trees and will get to have proper bites of those sun-sweetened apples.

Supporting a local business and a local food producer is a great family tradition, and a great reason for all of us to indulge our inner influencer and take those flannel-clad family photos … just be sure to tag the farm!

Tressa Dale is a U.S. Navy veteran and culinary and pastry school graduate from Anchorage. She currently lives in Nikiski with her husband, 1-year-old son and two black cats.

More in Life

Minister’s Message: The hope of Christmas

History tells us that Jesus factually lived and later died on the cross. Therefore, the Christmas story is true history

Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)
Life in the Pedestrian Lane: A few more pills

All the people I visit with these days have the same story

Promotional photo courtesy Toho Studios
From left, Yuki Yamada portrays Shiro Mizushima, Hidetaka Yoshioka portrays Kenji Noda, Kuranosuke Sasaki portrays Yoji Akitsu and Ryunosuke Kamiki portrays Koichi Shikishima in “Godzilla Minus One.”
On the Screen: New ‘Godzilla’ surprises as one of the year’s best movies

The film shines not because of a giant computer-generated monster, but instead because of its emotional narrative grounded in humanity, history and politics

The sun shines over Tern Lake on Sunday, May 22, 2022 near Cooper Landing, Alaska. (Ashlyn O'Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Tales of trails

‘Trail Mix Journal’ collects stories and experiences from local wilderness

This is the military plaque placed upon the Anchorage grave of Arlon Elwood “Jackson” Ball. (Photo from findagrave.com)
Human Complexity: The Story of Jackson Ball — Part 4

Summing any life is never easy. There is always, it seems, more to the story.

Fresh mozzarella, above, is great if you find yourself with a gallon of milk on its last day. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Mozzarella saves the day

After all our Thanksgiving guests departed, we received a delivery of several gallons of milk nearing their expiration date

Will Morrow (courtesy)
Older and wiser, or not

Turning 50 has been a more laid-back experience

Sara DeVolld performs as part of the Waltz of the Flowers Corps de Ballet in “The Nutcracker” with Eugene Ballet at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Shona DeVolld)
Becoming part of a ‘magical holiday tradition’

Local ballet dancer Sara DeVolld performs in Anchorage for ‘The Nutcracker’

A copy of Sherry Simpson’s “The Way Winter Comes” is held in the Peninsula Clarion offices on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Off the Shelf: Inhabited by winter

Juneau writer spins haunting tales of Alaska’s darkest season in 1998 short story collection

Most Read