It was sunny for about 5 minutes on Monday, so we piled the kids in the car and headed north, to our favorite berry farm.
Every year we pick fresh local berries and bring them home to turn into jam, freeze for winter, and of course eat fresh.
As soon as we get there we pick up our baskets and wait for the tractor to come get us. At this point my mom usually says, "Oh, look at all of those people out there getting the best berries! We should have come earlier. All of the good berries will be gone."
Then, my son says, "Do we HAVE to wait for the tractor? The berry patch is RIGHT there." At that point I usually say, "YES, you have to wait for the tractor. We are here to have fun, darn it, and the tractor ride is fun! And, yes mom, I'm sure there will be plenty of berries for all of us. Now, everyone smile and look like you're having fun."
Eventually, the tractor arrives and takes us on our short ride to the field. I love this time of year.
My mom was right, the berries had been a little picked over. But we still ended up with plenty to take home.
We move onto the raspberries and WOW, were they ever amazing!
I swear, some of them were as big as small apples.
Pretty soon, Farmer Andy came back around with his tractor to take us back to the barn. With an extra 15 pounds of berries to carry, no one complained about taking the tractor on the short trip back to the barn.
So many berries, so little time! Fresh picked berries need to be used or processed on the same day. They don't have all of those chemicals and preservatives that the berries from the grocery store have, so they mold very quickly. No problem, we're usually up for the challenge.
One for me, one for the bowl, one for me, one for the bowl.
I love to have my kids help with jam making and the canning process. My mom and grandma taught me how to make homemade jam. There is nothing better than this fresh, homemade treat. I love knowing exactly what is going into our food. I love that my kids have had a hand in making their food. I love that there are fewer chemicals going into our jam. I love that I can pass the lost art of home canning onto my kids. Involving them ensures (with any luck) that this art will make it to the next generation.
Happy berry picking!