We celebrated the unofficial start of summer (aka strawberry season) this past weekend at our annual Strawberry Jam. A day where we enjoy local strawberries in various forms—Strawberry Buttermilk ice cream, strawberry shortcake, strawberry pie, strawberry soda—paired with great food and drink, good music, and lots of family-friendly activities. 

Undoubtedly, the guest of honor was the perfect, gem-like strawberries sold by our longtime farm partner, Mike Hirsch of Hirsch Fruit Farm. But we were thrilled to partner with so many of our friends in the community throughout the day. 

Columbus brewery, Land-Grant Brewing, graciously offered their taproom and beer garden as the venue to host the thousands of people who braved the hot Ohio sun to hang out with us.

As part of our collaboration, we worked with Land-Grant to create a limited-edition beer called Elixir, a hibiscus pale ale designed to pair perfectly with a scoop of Strawberry Buttermilk ice cream. Tapped for the first time on Saturday, Elixir is made with Belma hops, a variety that produces a flavor like strawberry candy, and is then racked with dried hibiscus petals for three days, which gives the beer a gorgeous pink hue. (Pro tip: Six-packs of Elixir are now on sale at Columbus-area grocery stores!)

Our friends at Rambling House Soda crafted a special Strawberry Rhubarb soda just for the day. And Vintage Wine Distributor poured three styles of rosé all day.

Local coffee roaster, Bacca Coffee, whipped up a special infusion that fit the theme of the day—cold brew infused with fresh roasted strawberries and rhubarb (and fittingly called the Darryl Strawberry).

Two of our city’s best bakers brought their A-game to serve mind-blowingly delicious desserts highlighting local strawberries. Lauren Culley and her team at Fox in the Snow made strawberry shortcake—featuring their shortcake biscuit with fresh strawberry sauce, Strawberry Buttermilk ice cream, and a mound of whipped cream. (It’s no surprise they sold out!)

The talented Perrie Wilkof and her crew from Dough Mama in Clintonville served nearly 1,000 strawberry pie bars topped with Vanilla Honey Bean ice cream.

While we could have easily lived on dessert and beer alone, there was plenty of savory food to eat. Hot Chicken Takeover—who has been celebrating Strawberry Jam with us since the first even three years ago—served their classic spicy fried chicken at refrigerator temperature—what Jeni likes to call picnic-style chicken. It’s a special they make only for Strawberry Jam every year. Also joining us were Little Eater, Ray Ray’s Hog Pit, Street Thyme. 

Plenty of fun was to be had by the whole family with lots of activities for young Strawberry Jam goers in our kids’ area. Activities included face painting, a strawberry toss, live chalkboard art, coloring pages designed by local artists, and possibly the best balloon sculptor we’ve ever seen. 

Igloo Letterpress was there hand-making Strawberry Jam prints. Local lipstick maker, Tart Peach, was selling her bright shades. And Florish Florist was there making bouquets.

Great local bands entertained our ears throughout the day. The music lineup included: The Ramblers, The Emily Syring Band, Molly Winters, Maza Blaska, DJ George Brazil, and Doc Robinson. 

This year’s Strawberry Jam benefited Besa and their game-changing work connecting people to community through experiences that change lives.