i was never much of a berry fan. not strawberries. not blueberries. not raspberries. not blackberries. but i’d never had any of those FRESH, either. and then i moved here – to the pacific northwest. to the raspberry-growing capital of our country, in fact. and it didn’t change my mind – not at first, that is.
july 1999 (the year i moved here), i fell in love with fresh cherries. i was camping with some friends in eastern washington and YUM! i’d never had a fresh cherry before. only those bright red ones in a jar at the store. and just a year or two ago i was introduced to Rainier Cherries….. even yummier! in fact, i’ve been buying them like CRAZY this year – totally craving them while pregnant and post-pregnant. their season is almost over now, however.
summer 1999 or 2000 i ate my first fresh-from-the-vine strawberry. so small. so SWEET. so melt-in-your-mouth YUMMY! every year i buy fresh berries at least once or twice a week. i usually just wash them and eat them and eat so many of them i get a sore in my mouth… but i always say it’s worth it b/c they’re that good. i totally craved (and indulged) in eating MANY fresh strawberries this season (it was the end of my pregnancy). next year i hope to take the kids to a field so we can PICK our own (i’ve never yet picked fresh strawberries).
today – summer 2010 i ate my first fresh-from-the-bush blueberry. mmmmm. i can now say that i DO like blueberries. i’ve never really been a fan before. but today we headed to a local berry patch where you pick your own blueberries (two varieties) for $1 a pound. it’s a place known only by word-of-mouth and i’m tempted to keep it a secret, though i know they’d appreciate the extra business, so i’m obviously not keeping it a secret for long since we just found out about it last night around 5:30!
dave took the day off work (my mom headed for her own home and life yesterday morning – she spent just over 8 weeks with us) and to make the day seem more like part of a "stay-cation" than a "mama’s-not-ready-to-handle-3-kids-all-on-her-own-all-day-yet" situation, we headed to the local patch and picked 21.5 pounds of blueberries. two varieties. one more mild and one a little more tangy.
samantha actually did pretty well at first. we taught her to pick the blue ones, not the green ones. if she got a green one in her hand, she’d say "NO!" and throw it on the ground. pretty funny. she wasn’t the most careful picker, however, nor did she like to LEAVE the berries in the bucket (she kept dumping her picked berries on the ground) so we eventually took away her bucket and she wandered the berry rows picking up sticks. she was happy. davey did pretty well and actually enjoyed helping us pick the berries. he did take a "picking up sticks" break, too, though. alex stayed asleep in the car in her carseat (the field is small and our vehicle was parked right next to it and we checked on her often).
one of these years, i suppose, i will learn to like/love a raspberry. i’m not there yet. i like raspberry preserves on homemade bread and on my whole wheat english muffins. and once a year, i’ll eat raspberries on ice cream (at the Raspberry Festival). but that’s about it for me and raspberries. and it’s a shame – my dear friend has massive raspberry fields in her backyard (they rent out some land) and we’re allowed to pick them (free of charge) as long as the berry pickers have already been down the rows that day.
so there’s my story of berries. if you’re like me (or if your kids are like me) and you (they) don’t like berries… make sure they get to try FRESH from the vine or bush berries… they are TOTALLY different than those you buy at the grocery store. YUM-YUM!