Who gave Chuck Grassley fresh strawberries?

By Lisa Rossi – Des Moines Register – June 5, 2015

After a series of town meetings recently, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley was left with at least one lingering question: Who was the nice person who gave him the quart of fresh strawberries?

That turned out to be more difficult to answer than expected.

The berry-gifting moment was captured by Register photographer Michael Zamora. He and columnist Kyle Munson were trailing Grassley to learn how the senator had become a viral Twitter phenomenon. The lawmaker received the fresh strawberries at a town hall meeting Friday, May 29, in Mount Pleasant.

Initially the photo caption credited Jerry Barker as the bearer of the berries.

So the senator from New Hartford tweeted his thanks in the most Grassley way possible Thursday evening, blasting it out with no tags, a few truncated vowels and a heap of Iowa authenticity:

“Thx to Kyle Munson dsmRegister picture I found out jerry barker was town hall attendee who gave me qt of berries So I can thx jerry. Forgot.”

Unfortunately, we made a simple mistake. Such errors do occasionally plague us in daily journalism, this first rough draft of history.

Barker gave Grassley a ball cap. It was Bob Swindell, general manager of Access Energy where Grassley met with constituents, who bestowed the senator with the heaping quart of strawberries. He harvested them from his Oakland Mills Barry Farm outside of town that he tends with his wife, Kathy.

Our apologies to Bob, Chuck and everybody involved. We’re berry sorry.

— Kyle Munson contributed to this convoluted, glorified correction. Have a good weekend.