Who would think that an hour or two of berry picking at a local farm would be so rich with life lessons? We took a field trip to Fulton Farms in Troy, OH with my husband’s family last weekend and despite the extreme heat all 13 of us had a great afternoon. From Grandma and Grandpa to the 15-month-old twins everyone got in on the action, proving that berry picking truly can be a family affair. (That’s my almost-2-year-old in the photo!)
I remember picking strawberries as a child in Pennsylvania at Heller’s Farm – we’d be berry stained and hot but our baskets would be heaped with the sweetest fruit I’d ever tasted. This was no different.
We asked the kids on the drive to Troy how they thought strawberries grew, what the farm would look like, how many they could pick, etc. Let’s just say that making predictions is not my children’s strong suit. Luckily plucking berries off their stems is. (Well, except for Tucker who essentially managed to make strawberry puree by swirling the berries around and around in his bucket all afternoon. Sigh.)
So, post-picking lessons learned:
– It was H-O-T out there in the fields! Hats were a must and we were all a sweaty mess. Farmers work really really hard if they’re the ones picking all those berries. We picked all afternoon and had 8 buckets. When you consider the cartons and cartons of them at the grocery store you don’t think about the time spent harvesting (not to mention planting, and watering, and fertilizing).
– Locally grown and freshly picked berries taste SO MUCH BETTER than the ones in the grocery store – they are smaller and sweeter and redder all the way through to the middle. By the way this is true for pretty much any produce -thus the resurgence of farmer’s markets and backyard gardens!
– When you’re the one who picked the berries you’re a lot less likely to waste any of them. They seem more precious somehow. This is a good thing and even the kids seemed to get it.
– Locally grown berries are sweet enough to be dessert all by themselves – no requests for added sugar or Truvia on top – but they also make great jam and sorbet!
– Oddly shaped berries still taste great – it’s what’s on the inside that counts!
– The work went faster and was way more fun if we worked together – the littler the child the more she understood this! Watching them sharing berries from bucket to bucket was priceless.
If you’ve never been to “U Pick” farm I highly recommend it – what a great experience and fun memories!