The Fruits of Our Labor

Late in the spring, Aaron and I walked the rows of bushes to pick off flowers that were growing on our bushes. As you already may know, the flowers will turn into berries and we did not want that to happen our first year. You might have seen directions for a fruitbearing plant you bought at a nursery say, “do not pick the fruit the first year”. That doesn’t mean you let the fruit develop and and die, it means you should pick or cut off the buds/blossoms that will become the fruit. Why? The most important thing right now is for our plants to establish a healthy root system. When plants are making flowers and fruit, they devote all of their energy to developing the delicious balls of blue. You may be familiar with the process, everyone say it with me, “Photosynthesis!” - My second and third graders would be so proud.

So, we picked the flowers. Of course, there were a few that were left unseen and therefore unpicked. They went on to become luscious ripe blueberries that Aaron and I have been snacking on periodically while working on the farm. Earlier this week, my nieces, ages 9, 7, and 2 ½,  came to the farm. Even though the pickings were very, very slim, they were motivated to find every blueberry left hanging on a bush. As they walked the rows they would yell to one another, “I found another blue one!” They would occasionally pop one in their mouth and an audible “mmmmmm” traveled across the field. By the end of their picking, they had covered the bottom of a small yogurt container with blue and started noticing the taste difference in a fully ripe blueberry and one that needed a little more time.

The prospect of many children and adults searching the fields for the abundance of tiny blue gold gave me a satisfying feeling. What we are doing on our farm is more than growing local, healthy, food, we are growing experiences and memories all of which will last much longer than a piece of pie.