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Berry Picking Adventures

Raspberry bushes used to grow in my backyard. They were cuttings from plants which grew at my grandparents’ house, though I know nothing about gardening, so don’t ask me to go into details about the bush itself. All I know is that when I was young my whole family would go into our backyard and pick raspberries, wash them off in the kitchen sink and then eat them right then and there. I was too young to think about it then, but now I wonder why we never did anything exciting with the berries that we picked. Granted, there wasn’t a lot of berries on the bush, but we could have made jam, or made a pie if we were to supplement in some other berries or fruits, or put them into oatmeal, or been creative at all.

It’s too late now though, the man who mowed our grass ripped up the whole bush believing it to be a weed. That was over 15 years ago. Still, for years he promised he would replace it, but we no longer use his services and he couldn’t have gotten us a new raspberry bush if he tried (and I don’t think he did). It just wasn’t going to happen; it would be too expensive.

Something wound up happening to kill off the raspberry bushes in my grandparents’ yard too, but don’t ask me what (my gardening ignorance has not dissipated). Now if my family wants to buy berries, of any kind really, we need to pay the store prices or buy frozen. This becomes an even bigger problem because my family keeps an organic home and so everything is more expensive and has to actually be in season. Otherwise we don’t buy it. Or we buy frozen. You can imagine my joy…

But we were saved by Jones’ Family Farm when they offered days to come pick strawberries and my mom and I accepted. The acreage of the farm was immense, and maybe I’m just naive having lived in a suburb my entire life, but I was very impressed that there was this much land barely 15 minutes from my house.

Things got even better when we got to ride a tractor to the berry fields: we rode the Berry Ferry!

It’s corny and it’s hokey, but that’s why I love it. My mom and I were given a few rows to pick from because we were picking rather late in the season. With our cartons at the ready we got down and picked the best berries I have ever eaten. It was a bit difficult to find ones which were large and not squashed, or ones which were not buried in the dirt, but when we found good ones we found good ones. We picked a little over 3 lbs of strawberries and paid a little over $8.

Now we just need to get creative and come up with recipes to put the strawberries into. After years of not having the option to pick our own berries I will not let this opportunity go to waste. If you have any of your favorite strawberry recipes on hand please let me know. I’m willing to try anything just to be able to get creative. Let me know! Next week we’ll go back to pick blueberries.

Thanks and happy picking to anyone else hunting in the berry market.

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