Wednesday, August 13, 2008


The two Things and I went on another annual summer pilgrimage this afternoon: blueberry picking.
We love picking blueberries, partly because they grow on very conveniently sized, non-prickly bushes, and partly because when they are ripe they practically jump into your bucket for you. Blueberries are possibly nature's most obliging fruit.
Raspberries exact a high price for their acquisition: the canes they grow on are heinously nettlesome, and the fruit is so ridiculously fragile and delicate that it requires the patience of Nelson Mandela to harvest so much as a cup or two. (And believe me, patience is in very short supply at the Loudshoes' house at the best of times.)
Strawberries grow low to the ground, and so one has to either be very short or very bendy to get a decent amount. When I was about 8 months pregnant with Thing 1, another pregnant friend and I went strawberry picking (because we were crazy) and it took us all afternoon to get a pathetic amount, mostly because neither one of us was either very short or very bendy at the time. A Vietnamese family took pity on us and came over and donated a metric tonne of strawberries that they had picked in about 10 minutes.
I've never picked peaches, mostly because the "pick-your-own" places around here have better sense than to let idiotic, untrained, Amish-wannabes anywhere near a ladder and a tree. I imagine the liability issues would be pretty spectacular for such an adventure...."Here's your ladder and your basket and don't forget to sign your waiver and your organ donation card."
But blueberries are very easy to pick and the Things and I have made a point of going every year since they were toddlers. The place we go even provides little stools for you to sit on. They direct you to an area, which seems woefully inadequate at the time, and ask you to tell them if you want more after that has been picked clean. You pull your stool right up to a bush, like Thing 1 here, and you can pick in about 180° around you and get an impressive bucket of blueberries in no time flat. We've never managed to exhaust the area they give us, no matter how hard we try.
This year we got just over 8 pounds of blueberries in about an hour. And truly, a fresh, ripe Ontario blueberry is a magnificent thing. I can't believe there has been no poetry written in praise of the blueberry. Eating 8 pounds of them will be enjoyable work over the next few days, and believe me, a couple of days is all we will need.

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