There is a sense of mouth-watering anticipation every June when the strawberries are ripe and the women at Knox Presbyterian Church start whipping up their yearly strawberry shortcakes.
For the past 33 years the Women’s Missionary Society has hosted a Strawberry Tea at the church in support of missionaries in different parts of the world. It started out as a small affair, just a little tea and some strawberry shortcake and it just grew from there. The event has proved to be so popular that Amy Chwojka has had to recruit interdenominational helpers from other churches in Sooke.
“It’s really a congregational effort,” said Chwojka. “It’s a fellowship of fun and laughter.”
Before the assembly of strawberry shortcakes begins, Chwojka has alaready been scouring the farms in Saanich to get the year’s ripening crop of strawberries. Her favourite source is the Michell Farm, but with the late spring weather and slow season she may have to go to other sources as well.
Chwojka looks for those local berries which are sweet and nice.
The 16 cases of strawberries are paired with 22 litres of whipping cream and 15 large slab cakes.
“We have one girl who does nothing but whip cream, starting at 11 a.m.,” said Chwojka.
For years the work began the day before the Strawberry Tea but now they have it down to a fine science and the larger work parties are no longer necessary.
Once the strawberry cakes are done, out go the drivers. Chwojka and her crew take orders and deliver strawberry shortcake with the prerequisite whipped cream to happy customers from John Muir to Saseenos and many stops in between. The largest number of orders they received for take out was 319 portions.
There was some talk of raising the price of the luscious treat, but Chwojka decided to have the price remain at $6.
“Everyone is being so generous, and even if we struggle and lose money, it’s all volunteers and it goes to a good cause.”
This year the Strawberry Tea takes place on Wednesday, June 22 from 2 to 4 p.m. at Knox Presbyterian Church at 2110 Church Road. And for something different, this year the RCMP will be piped in by Bill Dryden and the officers will serve tea in their red serge.
“It’s something we’ve never done before,” said Chwojka.
So for those on diets, Chwojka says to forget it for just that day and come out and enjoy this seasonal favourite. For those who cannot attend the tea, but still want to partake of the strawberry shortcake, they can call Amy Chwojka and order as many as they like and to be fair, it would be best to have more than one order at any address. Get the office/shop together and enjoy a little seasonal delight and help a good cause. They will be delivered. Call 250-642-3276.