Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Pick UR Own

Yesterday "we girls", as Leah would say, went to a pick your own farm to well, pick our own. The idea all started on our early morning walk with this guy. Along the creek trail the mulberries are ripe and scattered all over the place. Birds are going bonkers in the trees and well, even Scrappy likes to eat a few. The girls, being city raised most of their lives had no idea what the heck a mulberry is let alone what one does with them. I remember these as fond reminders of my exploratory youth. Several varieties grew around the neighborhood I lived which was great for an afternoon snack. Still as I remember you have to fight the birds for the fruit. The girls tried their first mulberries and were in love. In love with the simple amazement of picking fruit off of a tree and eating it right there in its warm juiciness. The tree we were munching on was large, nearly 20 feet or more, with most of the reachable branches plucked. After a good handful or two we were back on our way on the trail. The whole way home that's all the girls could talk about was how great it was to pick the fruit and how they wanted to pick more and take some home. I'm sure if I had said "Yeah, go ahead, pick some fruit, take it home" there would have been some very interesting mashed berries jammed into their pockets. As we walked home and they continued to chatter about the picking, the eating, the fun, I was thinking my thinks.

Going to a pick your own farm was just what we needed to do on a sunny warm breezy day. I was hoping to find a great berry farm, for some reason we had a big craving for some strawberries. Must have been the warm sunshine and the general summerness of the past few days giving my tummy a hint. Then when I looked at that calendar and noticed just how far into June we are, already it's nearly over, I couldn't believe it. The end of June means strawberry season in the southeast is over. Bah. I wouldn't let that ruin a good idea. The end of June to me means cherry pie season. In these parts the tart pie cherries are ripe from mid-June to Mid-July. And boy do you have to get them as fast as possible. Once they are gone then no more pies. That, my friends, is very tragic. Because a well made cherry pie is one of the best treats of summer.

I investigated and discovered a great farm using the Pick your own site. I called the farm and was so pleased to hear that they were open and the cherries were ready AND that blueberries are ready right now. BLUEBERRIES! We love the blueberries. An added bonus. We raced there, or so it seemed, full of glee and the taste of blueberries in our mouthes. The farm was easy to find and picturesque. We helped ourselves to the picking supplies and dashed to the bushes. There were some other families there but after a while we were the only ones there. It was great to watch the girls go down the line picking and selecting the bestest berries. At first the girls were feeling like picking would take forever, those swings in the trees kept calling to them I think. Once they got the swinging out of the way they were ready to pick. In no time we had filled a flat full of blueberries. With the blueberries in the cooler it was time for the cherries. Those were located in the orchard by the homestead. Wow. It was pretty. I didn't take pictures since it seemed kind of rude with the folks there and all.

At the house we were greeted by a friendly dog, er, two dogs. One we know named Simon the other name we missed. Both were very glad to have company and even more glad to see kids. After a good pat or three we were guided by the owners to the cherries. With bags and plenty of water we decided to walk rather than drive. It was a good decision as Simon escorted us there. He stayed with us for a little while then wandered off. The cherries were the most work. You really have to get in after those little guys, and watch out for poking branches, you can get one in the eye if you're not careful. It was nice to be outside enjoying the breeze and mountain views. The quiet was wonderful. We girls picked and smiled and skipped and laughed, just simple fun. Our conversations were limited since we were at different trees making it a great opportunity for mind clearing. Not long after Olivia put a hole in her sack thanks to a poky branch we were joined by some other pickers. Soon it became apparent we were the only English speakers, I heard Farsi, Mandarin, Italian and Hindi between the trees. The other thing I noticed was how much more quiet we were than the others. There was much conversation and commotion from the other families. Perhaps it was because we were scattered around as compared to their being in clusters. Not sure. All the same it was nice to see many people out looking for the joy of cherries.

We filled our two plastic shopping sacks halfway and called it a day. By that time we had spent 3 hours picking at the farm and we were tired. All done we had 17 pounds of cherries! Oh man! The pies that can make! That will make about 5 pies. Woot! The hard part is the pitting. I spent a good deal of time over those cherries pitting them. Much wine was helpful for this process as was a good chair. I am happy to report that there are 4 quarts of cherries in the freezer for future pies and one quart waiting to become perfection..err...a pie later this week. As for the blueberries. I have yet to tend to them. They were stuffed in the fridge and will wait there until I can wash dry and sort them. There shouldn't too much to sort but you never know. We gave away 4 pints and have 9..er...8 remaining. I have heard talk of blueberry pancakes, some muffins sound good, and then there's scones and cobbler. However, I have to be realistic, most of them will end up in the freezer since I only have so much time in the day.....really! I do!

Also good news for us is that the farm expects peaches by the end of July. One month away! Can't you just taste that sweet fruit....I almost can. That one may require a weigh in before and after since I think they will be missing out on the many that will certainly be eaten in the field.

1 comment :

Judith said...

P.S. Eric and I didn't know what a mulberry was until you shared the picture. Then we had an A-HA moment, "So THAT'S what Ellie has been eating!" That's what I get for hiding blueberries in Ellie's dogfood.