In Food, Parenting

nce upon a time there was a blueberry…

It’s berry season in our neck of the woods. Huckleberries, thimbleberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and blueberries are all ripe for the pickin’. Been to the produce section in the store lately? Many of these are in season near you as well!

Over the weekend we loaded up Suvy (nickname for our SUV) and headed out to a local U-Pick blueberry farm. In a little over an hour we picked 14 pounds of fresh blueberries. Because we paid by the pound we joked about weighing each of our kids when we arrived, then again when ready to leave, making sure Esther & Rudy charged us for the difference…”Eat two, put one in the bucket…eat two…” seems to be the kids mantra.

We were at the farm a bit early and had our choice of spots to start picking. The very first ripe blueberry that I saw was HUGE, this started the “Biggest Berry” contest. It was a hotly contested event, with Kelsey, Malia, Z and myself in contention. Macs and Elias may have played along but we’re pretty sure all their berries were consumed instantly. They spent more time “scaling” a nearby dirt mound than picking.

After a half hour of picking other folks began to show up. “Hello, how ya doin’s” were exchanged with heads still buried amongst the branches. After a few more minutes Kelsey had a tap on the shoulder…”Barbara! How are you?” It was the mid-wife who delivered our youngest, she was there with her sons and their families (one had just moved into the neighborhood from Connecticut). Hugs were exchanged and time spent so everyone could catch up. Then back to picking!

I spent much of the time picking next to our ten year old. She, and one of her brothers, had returned home that morning from a two day sleep over with friends in Montana. Pick a berry, hear about riding horses. Pic another berry, hear about staying up way past her bedtime, giggling late into the night with her friend. Pick another…learn more about my growing daughter.

After 45 minutes, Kelsey began the “Man! My arms are hurting from holding this bucket!” lines. Now, this had nothing to do with the elapsed time and any resulting fatigue. It also had nothing to do with the actual weight of her bucket. Want to know what she was actually saying? Both Malia and I understood perfectly – translation: “My bucket is WAY fuller than all of yours, I am Queen Blueberry Picker!” So now, along with the “Biggest Berry” contest, the “Who can pick the most berries” contest was on.

Around the hour mark, all of our buckets were brimming and our two year old was agitated…or agitating…depends on perspective! Regardless, is was about time to call it. Off to the scales.

Under Esther’s carport, four of us produced our entry for “Biggest Berry”. Admittedly, all four entries were pretty close and no distinguishable winner. So we declared a draw and then spent the whole ride home describing the “one” that we all picked but lost among the multitudes in our buckets. Look…I know how it sounds but that first one I picked was SOOO much bigger than all of the entries…it really was! I just couldn’t find it and was gracious allowing everyone else to feel they were in the running as well. I know, I am a good Dad =)

Then came the weigh in. Kelsey, Malia and I all had Esther weigh our bounty. And, yes, Kelsey was the clear winner…she was not exactly a gracious winner. What? She wasn’t. It has nothing to do with me and not being a gracious loser first runner up. She was insufferable in victory!

We then spent 15 minutes talking to Esther about some of the recent health challenges her husband had experienced. We were able to empathize and let her know that our family would be praying for both of them.

At that we loaded back up into Suvy and headed home…Lion’s Den Road to Riverside, spotting a few deer and bald eagles along the way. Two kids were asleep before we pulled into our driveway.

Alternatively, we could have spent 15 minutes driving to the store, putting some berries in our cart, and driving back home. That would be the tale of the other blueberry…

The point? When you have the chance, call around and find a U-Pick and make an adventure of it. Live in a bigger city? Pull out a map and draw a circle 15 miles outside the city…bet there are some amazing farms to explore! Turn a 15 minute task into a mutli-event family contest-NEVER hear the end of it-reunion with friends-vitamin D absorbing-dirt hill climbing-connecting with your kids-taking time to listen to a new friend’s prayer requests-adventure.

Oh, then there’s the picking 14 pounds of organic yumminess that we’ll be adding into smoothies long into next winter, for only $22.00.

That, for us, is a Full Day...all before lunch.

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