Sunday, June 02, 2013

Picking strawberries

Have you ever made plans--the most seemingly perfect plans for Something Fun to Do--only to watch them unravel in a heart-stoppingly rapid and dizzying fashion? 

I was convinced that my plan to take Andrew and William to pick strawberries last week was just such a plan. It sounded so simple, so bucolic, that it was bound to fail--and to fail spectacularly. 

And yet...

My plan succeeded. We drove to a local farm, collected our buckets, and picked strawberries with absolutely no fuss, no tantrums and no trouble at all. 

Only the most perfect berries would do for Andrew and William.
A friend recently posted on Facebook that she has been taking her children to a U Pick farm near Lebanon, Tennessee for years. I smiled at the pictures of her happy children with their buckets full of ripe fruit, but then something else that she wrote caught my eye: the farm was not far away and was easy to get to. 

Ah ha! I thought. I've been wanting to take William to pick fruit for years now, and this year, even Andrew is finally old enough to go. My brother John volunteered to go with us, for crowd control. 

Andrew was so excited by his first few hand-picked strawberries
that he kept calling me to look, look, Mommy!

So we got up on Friday, got dressed, and took the leap of faith. I told myself that even if it didn't turn out that well, it would still be better than a morning of hanging around the house. I wouldn't be telling William to stop playing Minecraft or peeling Andrew down off some rickety stool that he shouldn't be climbing on. And we might even end up with a handful of fresh strawberries.

It was worth it. And it really was.

Amazingly, even though it looked like rain, it didn't rain. It wasn't too hot. We didn't get lost on the way to the farm. We got blue raspberry Icees on the way there, so the boys were both already happy before we even got to the farm. The farm wasn't crowded. We didn't have to hike a long way to get to the picking area. 

How many WINS is that? Are you keeping count? Don't hate me for gloating over this. Didn't you read my last post about the terrible trip to Target?

Look, Ma! I picked these myself!

I didn't even have to tell the boys to be careful when picking the fruit. They took to it like they'd done it a hundred times before. They inspected the plants and delicately lifted up the leaves to search for ripe berries. I probably squashed more overripe berries than both of my sons put together. 

We picked a smidge over a gallon, then paid up and headed out. My brother inspected the nearby blueberry patch but that fruit won't be ready to pick 'til late June or so. William eagerly volunteered to go back to pick blueberries and blackberries later in the summer because he enjoyed the strawberry picking so much.

That evening, I washed and sliced a big bowl of those strawberries. William gleefully pointed out all the tiny dark red berries that he had so carefully harvested with gentle fingers. Andrew didn't care whether he'd picked those particular berries or not, he just wanted MORE MORE MORE. 

And you know, those berries were maybe some of the best fruit I've ever tasted myself.