Monday, July 9, 2012

Blueberry picking

Yesterday we decided it would be fun to take Madison blueberry picking.  Here is a brief list of reasons why we thought it would be fun:
  1. Blueberries are in season earlier than usual in our neck of the woods
  2. She enjoyed apple picking and pumpkin picking in the fall
  3. She loves blueberries
  4. Something special to do together with her before the arrival of the baby in a few weeks
So we arrive all gung ho at 9 am sharp, just as the place is opening.  I pre pay in the farm store and Greg loads Madison into the Ergo carrier.  We stop to admire the tractor before walking out to the blueberry patch.  So far,  we are warm, but Madison appears to be excited.  Being 9 months pregnant,  by the time we get there, I am breaking a small sweat and trying to catch my breath.  Madison is trying to wiggle out of the Ergo and Greg appears to be calm.

Before taking Madison out of the Ergo, I demonstrate what we are going to do.  I show her how to pick only the blue blueberries and put them in our containers.  She smiles and nods and we take her down.  Within moments, she is running down the row, grabbing any old berry she can find and either shoving it in her mouth as fast as possible or squishing it in the palm of her hand, watching the juice run down between her fingers.  Greg and I take turns holding the containers and trying to guide/correct her.  We have a mini communication challenge between us.  We resolve it and keep trying to help Madison.

It becomes apparent fairly quickly  that she needs to be held. I am grateful that I paid only for 1.5 quarts and that we didn't go to a place where you pay by the pound.  I share this with Greg and he agrees but notes that former, childless versions of ourselves would have driven to the further out farm, paid by the pound, picked blueberries for hours, ate a picnic lunch and maybe continue to pick afterwards.  Instead we were both hot and started rushing through the process a bit.  Madison was getting increasingly whiny, we were all hot and nap time was on the horizon.  

After finally filling our containers and a stop at the potty, we were back in the car with a frustrated toddler. 
In hind sight we considered these points:
  1. It was a little too hot to comfortably enjoy ourselves
  2. To Madison, blueberries are her candy.  You would not expect a child who loves a particular kind of candy to sit in front of a  bowl filled with that candy and not be tempted to eat one ( or several).
  3. Blueberries have appeared at our local farmers market recently too.  Her and I have developed a mini tradition of going to buy blueberries and whatever else looks good.  We then find a bench and happily munch down some blueberries together.  So of course she did not understand why we were asking her NOT to eat these
  4. Apple and pumpkins (usually) cannot be squished when picking them, thus making it easier for eager, busy hands to handle.
  5. Last year when we went,  she was not walking yet and stayed in the Ergo the whole time, making it a very different experience for her and us.
Once we arrived at home though all was well. Madison happily sat down with a plate of blueberries and snarfed them until her heart was content.  She will remember picking the blueberries I'm sure, but she will really enjoy eating (and drinking in a smoothie) them this week.

If you live where blueberries are in season, happy picking!

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