FARMINGTON — Since the Pierce House, located at 208 Main St. in Farmington, celebrated its grand 100 year anniversary in 2005, it has been the tradition for Old South First Congregational Church to serve up strawberry shortcake on July 4th.

Most years, volunteers from Old South pick the berries fresh from David and Verna Pike’s farm on the Whittier Road. There have been only a couple of years that the Pikes needed to pick the berries due to the crop and/or weather.

This year, eight volunteers gathered to on a gorgeous morning and harvested 129 pounds of the red berries. Boxes of picked berries are transported to the Old South kitchen where another group of at least six volunteers wash, hull and mash the strawberries adding just the right amount of sugar. Each year the Pikes have supported the annual strawberry shortcake event by donating a generous portion of the berries.

Early on fresh biscuits were made by Harvey Hayden and Stan Wheeler. Biscuits are baked early on the morning of the 4th in the church’s kitchen, in recent years by Sarah Parr-Ellsworth and Debbie Davis-Robinson. Last year 300 biscuits were baked and this year, by special request, the biscuit count be increased to at least 350.

On the morning of the 4th all the ingredients and supplies are then taken to the Pierce House and the serving area is set up under a tent on the Pierce House front lawn. Every year there is always someone wanting their shortcake before the set up is complete!

Volunteers staff the assembly line, making each shortcake as perfect as possible with a fresh baked biscuit, a generous scoop of Pikes’ fresh strawberries and a full squirt of whipped cream. Serving begins at 10:30 a.m. and goes until 12:30 p.m., unless the berries or biscuits run out before then. The cost for a serving will remain the same as last year at $4 each.

Proceeds from the sale of the strawberries will benefit community service and outreach through improved handicapped accessibility to the Old South Church’s Newman Wing. The winter warming center, support groups and other community events are held in the Newman Wing addition.

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