I love to pick blueberries. I've been picking them with my mom since I was a little girl. She loves picking blueberries, which, I'm sure, is where I got my enthusiasm for it.
Today we introduced the rest of my family to our blueberry patch--a U-pick farm market twenty minutes from our house. I wouldn't let the kids come with me to pick strawberries, because I was afraid they'd run around unintentionally stomping on berries. But I figured they couldn't do too much harm to the blueberry bushes and it would be a good way to let them see how some of our food grows.
When Ben found out we were going, he offered to come with us even though he'd have to get up after only five hours of sleep. Turns out he'd never picked blueberries before either.
Last night I read Blueberries for Sal for our bedtime story, trying to drum up some excitement for our berry picking adventure. Plus, I just love that book.
I kept my expectations low, since Mom and I would be picking with three children under the age of six and one husband without experience. Turns out low expectations were unneccesary.
The berries were just ripening, so there were more green ones than blue. (I may have jumped the gun on picking, but I just wanted fresh berries so badly! We'll go back when they are more fully ripened.) The kids each took a little bucket. Anna started filling hers with hard little green berries, but soon gave that up for eating almost anything off the bush she could. After a few sour ones, she got pickier.
Lucas started by trying to fill his bucket. He picked a lot of purple ones, which Mom and I tried to explain to him would taste sour. He insisted he liked the sour ones. In fact he told all of us several times that if we picked a purple one on accident he would eat it, because he likes sour ones. Soon he had eaten everything out of his pail and, like Anna (and Sal), moved on to just eating straight off the bush.
By this time Ben and Nick had wandered farther down the rows to find some easier, and shadier, picking. After a long time Nick came back asking if we wanted to see his berries. I was shocked to find that his pail was half full of beautiful, big, blue berries. There wasn't a green or purple one to be seen. He went back to his dad and picked until the little kids started to get antsy and we got ready to leave.
I was so proud of him, not just for picking good berries, but for being so cheerful and happy about it. Because Nick doesn't like blueberries. He won't even try them. But he was having so much fun just hanging out with Ben in the berry patch that he didn't care. He picked a little over a pound all by himself.
So in the end I got about seven pounds of fresh blueberries and a happy morning with my family. What more could I want? Maybe we'll have to make family blueberry picking a summertime tradition.