|Bowl of beautiful|
The day was brilliant, hot sun, not a cloud to be seen. The berry picking was sure to be great. Russ had gone earlier in the day and picked his buckets in about 5 minutes. Wow. Soon our empty pails were weighed and our patch was picked for us. Trying to keep three children picking and not skipping over the ripe berries was a challenge in itself. Olivia was on the ball, and had her ice cream bucket full in no time and offered to help fill Natalie's. The eight year olds were more random, not wanting to follow the "rules". The rules are really simple. Pick all the ripe ones and if you find bug eaten berries it is asked that you pluck off the bush and toss them aside. Pretty easy. And stay in your section. It only makes sense. The farmer wants to control where the picking has been based on ripeness and amount of berries. They don't make any money if a row sits full of ripe berries and no one picks. Neither do they want a customer to be un-happy with rows with no fruit
While we picked I asked the kids if they knew what organic meant. Olivia had it pretty much spot on, Natalie was close. Hanna was out of range, picking at the top of the row. I stress how important it is to involve the next generation in our food system. They need to see where it comes from, not from a box or bag. They need to understand that things can be grown with-out chemical inputs. Weeds and crops can grow in unison. The strawberries at Ashberry have chick weed and various grasses growing through out the plants. It is very natural and we were encouraged to move the plants about to look for the bright red berries. Often the farms ducks will wander around the crop, eating bugs and slugs. That is organic pest control at it's finest.