Sunday, June 29, 2008

Pick Organic!

Its that time of year. The weather is warm and fresh fruit is abundant. Its a time full of berries, melons, and tomatoes. Sure you could go to your local supermarket and pick up some fruit that was picked before it was ripe, sprayed with pesticides, and then hauled across hundreds of miles (didn't I make that sound appetizing?) or you could go to your local fruit stand or certified organic farm and pick your own!

We are lucky enough to live in the heart of agricultural country. Twice a week as I drive Ben out to his therapy I take in miles of rice fields, safflowers, sunflowers, tomatoes, melons, onions, and on and on. It is so peaceful to drive for miles and miles and not see a big city full of congestion along the way. Even though we are still shrouded in smoke I decided we could brave being out in it for 30 minutes and go pick some fruit at Pacific Star Gardens, a local certified organic farm.

We were told that blackberries and boysenberries were ripe for the picking so we decided that was where we were heading. The proprietor reminding me that berries stain to which I stated "Its all part of the experience". The kids each had a bucket in tow and we walked through the farm to the berry patch.

I showed the kids how to pick the berries and placed a couple in each of their buckets. These went immediately in their mouths (which is why it is even more important to go to an organic farm. You want to feel good about what their little tummies are digesting). They were sold. They began picking their own berries and quickly figured out the darker berries tasted better since they were ripe.

It was so fun to see them delicately pick the berries and see absolutely no berries in their buckets buckets because they were too busy stuffing their faces. I ended up doing all of the picking for the actual berries we would bring home while the children grazed.

After I decided we had enough berries (I am certain they would have sat there all day and gorged) we headed back to pay for our bounty. I explained to the owner that the children ate their weight in berries and she refused to let me pay for what they had eaten. She told me it was all they could eat while they were out there. I thought that was very nice. We washed up best we could in the outdoor sink and then grabbed a cantaloupe (which Ben rolled in the dirt like a bowling ball) and a yellow watermelon (that Mari dropped and cracked open. No biggie. Nothing a bag couldn't contain until we got home to eat it). When we got home the kids went in the tub to get the berry remnants off their skin and the clothes soaked in some oxyclean for an hour before I threw them in the wash. Everything came out stain free! The kids have been dining on cantaloupe and yellow watermelon and today I made a boysenberry/ blackberry/apple pie for us to have for dessert. Thats right. I baked twice in one week! Crazy huh?

Its easy to find a pick your own produce farm. Just check out this link and find a farm near you.

The kids will have a blast, you will have a blast, and you will have food that you can feel good about feeding your children. We plan on going back for more. We were told carrots and onions were available to pick as well. Can you imagine how fun it will be for the kids to pull carrots out of the ground?


Tonya Staab said...

Gorgeous, I just love Mari's berry covered face. She's too funny. Great post. I'm still holding out hope that I can take the kids berry picking before they are out of season. We do get all of our fruit & veggies delivered to a farmers market by an organic grower. I love it and it makes me try vegetables I would never normally purchase.

debi9kids said...

How fun!!!! What a great day! I wish it hadn't rained here darnit!
LOVED Mari's face covered in berries!

Shannon said...

What fun! I especially loved the photos of berry-stained Mari :) Can't wait to do this with my own little fruit fiends!

The Corradetti Clan said...

Great pic Shar, I did this with the boys they loved it. I am hoping to go again. Thanks for the link.

MamaBriggs said...

Great pics! Once again, you amaze me!

L I S A said...

I wonder if we can make it out to that farm while we're in town. I swear, I think you could take out the trash and make that a fun adventure!

Tamara Mitchell said...

I love how they pick the fruit and eat it. Classic :-)

The Romero-Schroeder said...

Loved Mari´s stained face!!!

Christy said...

Shar I just love your blog! I have no idea why you waited so long to do it! Love the links you post! I've found a ton of farms to go to and hiking trails to hit cuz of you! :)