So this happened:
It’s been a couple of weeks now since it happened. But it was a ton of fun, highly rewarding, and I mostly just wanted to share the pictures in what amounts to a sort of quiet brag.
I went out to Mood’s Farm in rural New Jersey with friends Linda and Keli, we spent really only a couple of hours picking, and the result — which is what you see above — is over 45 pounds of berries. That’s fifteen pounds for each of us. Or — actually — enough berries to make a pie for me, and then the rest for Linda and Keli who made several different kinds of jelly and jam (and I think liqueur), and gave me jars of preserved things in return for my efforts.
It’s a good idea, people, to have friends who are enthusiastic about canning. And it’s even better to have canning-happy friends who are always on the lookout for economical fruit, and grateful to have an extra hand in getting it. My pantry, dear readers, is stocked.
But that little advantage aside, the actual picking was great fun, too. Mood’s Farm has well-tended and accessible vines, tied up in rows so that there’s very little bending or twisting or cutting up of your arms when you go to get the ripe ones that hide in the interior of the bush.
The berries were prolific. And so happy were they that our picking strategy went like this: 1) wander down the aisle, picking all the ripe ones we could find; 2) stop for a water break; 3) wander back down that same aisle, picking all the berries that had ripened in the meantime, while we were off picking at the other end.
We repeated this a couple of times. And there were still plenty of blackberries on the point of ripening as we walked away. We were a little sad, I think, that we had not brought more containers in which to stow them. But it doesn’t pay to be greedy. And talking with Linda afterwards, our giant haul seems to have been toward the high end of what she could profitably use before the berries began to turn to mush.
So like I said — I suppose there’s not really much to this post except some pretty pictures and a poorly disguised boast. But I think I might add some advice, too: If you get a chance to do you-pick, jump on it. The combination of inexpensive fruit, rural beauty, and a fun morning activity is difficult to beat.
And if you can find a place — like Mood’s Farm — where you can get fresh peach granitas and apple cider doughnuts at the end: go there today! There is no better way to counteract the calorie-burning effect of all that light physical labor than with a bag full of delicious sugar.
I’m doing this again next year, and so too should you.