Berry Picking is one of the most fun summer activities there is. If you’ve never been, you really are missing out. And maybe these reasons can convince you to give it a try.
“I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where it was always June.” —L.M. Montgomery
This post is more of a trip down memory lane than a particularly useful one. But since it is summer, and berry picking has been of my favorite summer activities ever since I can remember. And because it is something my family does every year without fail. I thought a fun little post about why I love berry picking so much might be fun. Plus it can’t really hurt, can it?
Every June ever since I can remember we’ve gone strawberry picking, lauded everyone up early in the morning, and headed to the strawberry farm. Over the years the farm has changed, as have the drive times, what used to be 20min, turned into an hour, the hour turned into 10min, and that turned into 30min. Some years we’d pick more berries than we knew what to do with. We’d make jam, shortcake, pies, and whatever was left we’d eat straight out of the fridge for what was left like days on end. Other years when money was tight or the weather was bad, we’d pick just enough, we’d make a pie or two, and eat the leftovers the next morning for breakfast.
Sometimes it feels like every time we go it’s different. Some years it takes hours, other years we race to see who can fill their flat the fastest. Turns out we can fill four flats in half an hour. Sometimes we bring friends along. One year we found a bird’s nest with eggs in one of the rows. Another year there were tones of grasshoppers and we learned a friend was really good at catching them. But in many ways, it’s always the same, tradition now, and we love it. Besides it just doesn’t feel like summer without berry-stained hands and sunburned faces.
I suppose the question then is why? Why do we love it so much? What would make anyone go out of their way to spend two hours standing in the middle of the field in the heat of summer, picking barriers?
Why Do I Go Berry Picking?
Honestly, I’m not even sure where to start, there are many reasons, so many reasons. Even aside from the ones mentioned above, here are a few of my favorites.
Because when you’ve done something you’re whole life, you can’t help but love it. It becomes a part of you and who you are. There are so many memories wrapped up in it, and I don’t know what I would do without it.
I love it because we’ve been doing it so long that we accidentally perfectly recreated an old photo over ten years later.
Because riding on a tracker is fun no matter how old you get. Besides, it’s so fun to watch the younger kid’s faces light up the first time every time they get to do it.
I love it because my Dad makes the best strawberry jam in the world. Which will always be more than worth the wait. Even if that wait is years long when he finally makes it again.
And the stories, there are so many stories and I love telling them. Stories, like the time I wore white to do blueberry picking and managed to get away without a single stain. Or the time my older fell(or jumped) off the tractor on the way out of the strawberry field. Stories about how so many of us when we were little would turn into Sal, from blueberries for Sal, anytime we went to pick berries of any kind.
I won’t even mention the raspberry patch we used to have and the years I spent trying to tame it before we moved. Or the early mornings of picking raspberries and fighting the spiders, mosquitoes, bees, and stinging nettle.
Or the many times we have run last minute to the strawberry patch, even on the 4th of July. Because we just had to have berries, even though none of us can ever remember why.
I love berry picking because there is just something special about getting to see where your food comes from. About getting to support your local farms and farmers. About getting to be a part of what feels like something bigger, even though it is as old as time.
And because fresh is always better, it’s always best. And let’s be honest I would rather only eat strawberries once a year fresh off the plant than eat them from the store all year round and never know the joy of picking my own berries.
Today I love berry picking just as much as I did when I was little. I’ve loved watching how it and we have changed over the years. And in this world where everything seems crazy, and time just keeps on flying by. And I can hardly keep up with it all.
I love having something as simple, as small as berry picking to look forward to each year. It gives me a way to slow down, to savor, and hang on to those little moments in life just a little longer. It reminds me to take the time to enjoy the little things in life. Things like family and good food, getting your hands dirty and feeling the hot sun on your back. Creating memories and coming home hot and tired with a load of fresh berries and thinking to yourself ‘I can’t wait to do it again next year. Well, it’s something I wouldn’t trade for the world.
If you’ve never been berry picking, and the many reasons above haven’t convinced you to give it a try yet. Then let me tell you, you are missing out. I’m not saying you have to go every year or make a tradition out of it. You don’t have to pick strawberries or blueberries. Or get up at the crack of dawn or go on the hottest day of the year. You don’t have to stop at a park and eat un-toasted bagels covered if cream cheese and poorly sliced strawberries on top.
You don’t have to do in any of the years or for any of the reasons me and my family do it. But I would highly, highly recommend going at least once in your lifetime. Because at the end of the day there is nothing like and is a feeling that can’t be recreated by anything else, farmers markets have great fresh berries in the summer, but it’s just not the same as picking your own.
If you made it to the end of this very long rant about berry picking, I’d just like to say first congratulations, and second that I hope I have convinced you to give berry picking a try, if not this year, then maybe next year.