As a child, I spent my summers on the shores of Lake Huron at our family cabin in the northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan. It was an idyllic sort of time in my life, one that I will probably write more about in future posts. One of my favorite pastimes was roaming the forests with my sister gathering flowers and berries. I remember seeking out the rustic lanes where the wild blueberries would grow, and filling up buckets alongside my family. My mother would bake the most delicious muffins and pies from our yield and we had the opportunity to spend an afternoon enjoying nature.
In an attempt to buy local and fresh seasonal fruit (which benefits the environment and our budget), my husband M and I have been visiting local U-Pick farms for our summer berries. V and I went on the first strawberry picking yield with some friends, and brought back enough for two batches of strawberry jam, made by M and I.
This past weekend, we decided to visit a small family run blueberry farm near our home. They follow organic practices and sell berries for only $1.55 a pound, which is fabulous! Together, V, M and I spent the morning filling our bucket with lovely, plump berries.
Together we worked, alternating between restful silences and chatting amicably. Though the morning was quite warm and humid, gentle breezes relieved the heat. The sunshine dappled the bushes, highlighting the green of the leaves and the blue-purple ripeness of the blueberries. In the next lane over, two gentlemen talked in deep, soothing twangs about family. I could have listened to the one man read the phonebook; his Garrison Keillor voice was hypnotic. Somewhere in the bushes, an older lady with a lovely voice taught a friend a hymn. V ran about “sploring” the bushes and discovering bugs and birds. Everyone was in pleasant moods, delighting in the beauty of the morning. In that patch of garden, everything seemed in harmony and I absorbed the peace.
We got so much more than a bucket of berries from our trip to the blueberry patch. We shared a pleasant time together as a family; V had a valuable learning experience about where her food comes from; we spent time enjoying a natural setting and restored some peace to our spirits.
As an added bonus, on the way to the patch, we stopped at a yard sale to ask for directions and I scored some awesome loot: a two poster headboard and nightstand for V, a Melissa and Doug money set for educational play, a large basket to house V’s busy bags, a Mercer Mayer story collection, an I Spy book, a large metal standing coat rack for our hallway entrance, and more for $31.00! I plan to refinish the headboard and nightstand with a white, cream, or matte French black appearance. And fortunately, we were able to enlist the help of a friend to haul it home.
With our blueberry yield, V and I made homemade muffins and pie and we froze a bunch for the winter months as well.
What are your favorite berry picking/harvesting memories?