Saturday, July 22, 2006

Blackberries are just not quite ready at the farm.

My husband and I spent 10 hours travelling to/from our farm Thursday and today. He had actual company business to do in the city, and I can do most of my job from anywhere, so rode along with him. With the price of gas hovering around $3.00 a gallon, it is getting harder to justify a weekend trip at our own expense to the farm just to get away from it all, or to pick berries. So it is convenient that he manages the location only 30 miles from the farm. The company is glad they don't have to pay his hotel bill, and we are glad not to pay the gasoline. It all works out to the good.

We arrived at 11:30 pm, and the next day after work went out to the orchard with TWO big berry baskets to gather up my berries. The picture above, on the left, shows what I found. There were two or three berries in some of the patches that were ready, but more of them looked like this picture below on the right. Thousands of berries, but very few of them ready. I picked 3/4 of a pint of blackberries and about 1 1/2 pints of black raspberries that were still coming on. I am SO GLAD that we did not have to pay for the trip by picking berries! It would have been a disaster. As it is, I think they will be ready next weekend. We will probably go back, I will miss another farmer's market Saturday morning. But eating that berry pie in January is worth it!

It seems we missed the pie cherries this year. Last year the neighbors asked us to go with them to pick at their cousin's orchard - after the "shakers" had already gone through. There were a few trees that are just too weak to use mechanical shakers on, so we picked a couple of gallons. This year, when we were there last week, the shakers had not been through the orchard yet. When we asked yesterday, they said there just weren't enough good cherries left on his trees due to bad weather and hailstorms. So on the way home we stopped at another farm, and they said all their pie cherries (or "tart" cherries, or "sour" cherries) were gone - they picked the first week of July. Oh well. There's always next year.

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