My mother grew up in a poor agricultural community, and despite her genteel manners and speech it often showed in the way she raised us.
From first grade until we graduated High School, my mother would take her kids out of school for a day during strawberry season (and sometimes during blueberry or cherry season) and put us to work in the “pick it yourself” fields over in New Jersey. We’d work the rows for eight hours with a break for lunch and a cold drink (and all the strawberries we could eat while we worked) and entirely fill a 1967 Pontiac station wagon with bushels, crates and coolers full of fruit. My mom would then spend two weeks preserving them.
If we complained, my father would laugh heartily and tell us about cutting tobacco to help pay for his college tuition. Fruit picking, in his opinion, was easy work.
To be honest I have never really liked strawberries ever since. That is some hard, sweaty, sunburny stoop labor. I am deeply grateful to the farmers and agricultural workers who do it, so I don’t have to.