Monday, July 1, 2013

Blueberry Picking for the Soul

This past weekend was one of those weekends that don't come around too often. One where you can't think of anything else that could've made it more perfect. We celebrated the marriage of good friends on Friday, with great food, cocktails and a pretty awesome dance party; on Saturday we had the beach, ice cream, crabs and a bonfire with family; and on Sunday we spent the afternoon just us - me, Matt and Riker - at a farm enjoying the wide fields, warm air and fresh blueberries. We got a drizzle of rain here and there, but nothing that could force us to stay indoors.

Emery's Organic Farm has the absolute best blueberries around, and they are ridiculously cheap when you pick them yourself. The last two years we didn't make it to the farm in time to pick our own so had to buy frozen boxes of them for my summer jam-making addiction (the frozen still taste great, but buying them from the farm store doesn't have quite the same charm as spending an afternoon picking), so this year we made a plan to get there as soon as the fields opened.

The blueberries were bountiful! We each grabbed a bucket and spent a half hour walking through the bushes and plucking off the biggest, juiciest ones we could find.

Riker had a great time running around picking berries. He had a pretty good method too: pick a berry, drop it in the bucket, eat the berry out of the bucket. When he got sick of the extra step, he just got right down on the ground and ate the ripe berries that had fallen on the ground. He was a kid on a mission.

We picked 5 or 6 pounds of berries before hauling our load into the market. With Riker's love for blueberries, it'll be enough for breakfasts and snacking for a while but I'll need to go back for a bigger bucket to make jam.

There's something so primal about berry picking - or really, picking any food you're going to eat. I used to go berry picking all the time in summer when I was a kid, and I really adore it. As kids we'd pick wild raspberries and strawberries, pour whole milk and sugar over them and eat them with a spoon out of a cup. Vermont Snacking 101. When we were meandering through the bushes picking the berries and feeling the breeze on our faces, it brought instant happiness. It's something I think we were all meant to do on a regular occasion.

After picking and paying, we made ourselves a little picnic lunch by the car. Riker doesn't look too happy here, but I swear he loves riding in that wagon. He was just bummed that he couldn't eat his entire bodyweight in berries.

For lunch we packed veggies and hummus, strawberries, various cheeses, and a salad of garden and heirloom tomatoes with olive oil & fresh basil.

After eating such a healthy lunch, it's only fair we ate dessert. If you've been reading for a while you know Matt cannot leave Emery's without a blueberry pie, and he cannot leave the parking lot without eating a slice out of the box. I came prepared this time with paper plates and forks. :)

Before leaving we stopped over to see the donkey and goats, then spent the rest of the afternoon driving through the pretty countryside. At some point we ended up at Matt's parents' house (they had requested pies of their own we needed to drop off) and ended up staying for a simple dinner of salmon, veggies and salad. We got home just as the sun came out so got to enjoy some last minute rays of sunshine before the real rain started - which meant falling asleep to thunderstorms.

As I said, one of those perfect weekends, right?

The blueberries are safely tucked in baskets so we can bring some camping this weekend (hello campfire blueberry pancakes), but I had some on my yogurt this morning and another handful on my salad for lunch at work.

The bowl was filled with all kinds of veggies, seeds, soy "chicken" (non-GMO Lightlife), ricotta salata cheese, blueberries and blueberry balsamic vinegar. So good. It's safe to say we'll be eating blueberries in every meal for the foreseeable future. Not that I'm complaining.

Hope your weekend was just as wonderful and this week flies by to the holiday!

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