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Summertime = Berry Picking Time!

Berry Picking Time

Fresh picked strawberriesHow amazing is fruit during the summer?! I always feel like I can prepare healthier and more delicious meals at this time of year, simply because I can go to a local farm or market and hand pick the most glorious fruits and veggies.  We’ve just come off a really fabulous strawberry season here in Georgia and I must have picked (and picked up) 15 or more gallons of these little jewels. The farm closest to our home (Southern Belle Farm) has rows and rows of strawberries every year and we visited them frequently during the season.  The field is so loaded with fruit, the strawberry-scented breeze makes you giddy! After we ate our fill, I was able to put up about a dozen quart jars of berries in the freezer, several gallon bags of individually frozen strawberries and about 24 jars of sugar-free strawberry jam.

Blackberries

In our area, right on the heels of strawberry season come blueberries and blackberries.  I have this memory of picking blackberries at my grandfather’s farm when I was young, getting scratched to pieces by the thorns and being ever-fearful of the random snake in the bushes. In the end, none of that mattered once my grandmother handed me a bowl of warm blackberry cobbler with fresh cream on top (yep, right out of the cow!) It was a little bowl of summertime heaven!  Hesitant to venture into a blackberry field again, DH and I drove back to Southern Belle Farm and made our way to the treasure. We looked forlornly at our beloved strawberry field, its rows newly plowed and not a plant in sight. We parked and tromped into the 6-8 foot tall rows of blackberry world. We were immediately overwhelmed by the sheer number of plump, beautiful blackberries ready to jump into our mouths buckets!IMG_3719

We picked hand over fist for about a half hour and filled four gallon buckets with amazing, sometimes thumb-sized, blackberries! They were sweet, juicy and so much yummier than the blackberries you get in the grocery store.  My theory is that, besides being as fresh as they could be, the whole picking it yourself and being out on the farm has a lot to do with that. I was spectacularly delighted with the whole experience, but DH not so much. DH picking blackberriesHe’s a New York native who never acquired an affinity for things like this.  I’ll keep working on him, but he sure looks proud here, doesn’t he?  Now home to make some of my own blackberry cobbler or maybe I’ll try another Peach Cobbler with Blackberries.  If only we had a cow to get some cream…

Want some tips and information about picking fruit in your area? Visit Pick Your Own Fruit.