It is late spring in New England, local farms are in bloom. Asparagus season began in May. June is strawberry season around here. The experience of picking and eating local fresh produce is one not to be missed. Not everyone has the time and space to grow your own food. Local pick your own is the next best thing.
I had a chance to get out into the fields of Tougas Family Farm and pick berries. I am fortunate that I live within twenty minutes of 3 or 4 different farms that have pick your own or community supported agriculture programs. You might be surprised by what is in your own neighborhood. Click this link to check for farms with pick your own locally. I only went for a quick trip, but I felt deeply nourished. In just over an hour I picked about 10 lbs of berries. I left the farm feeling so peaceful.
Why pick your own?
Fresh farm berries, taste a big step above what is available in the supermarket.We had the ripest berries for dinner, juicy and sweet. I froze a couple of trays for smoothies, to enjoy later this summer. I washed and dried them and set them up on cookie sheets to freeze individually. I hope to pick again and freeze some more and make fruit leather. Freezing allows my family the experience of the wonderful taste into the fall. Here is a link to some fun recipes with fresh strawberries.
Pick your own is a great way to eat local and get to know new people. Being out in the sunshine in the growing things is energizing. There is a fun community of people who get out and pick fruit and vegetables. Conversations break out across the rows of plants. I talked with one woman who has a tradition of coming and making special foods for her kids with the fresh strawberries. Her teenagers still ask for them every year. She has walked and picked the local fields for over twenty years.
Reduce your carbon footprint and get to explore the back roads in your neck of the woods. Eating local saves energy costs. You also get to know and support businesses in your community.
Local food helps us eat with more variety than is available on supermarket shelves. Small farms plant varieties and plants that prosper under the soil and weather conditions in the neighborhood. These are often different from the agribusiness products of the south and west. Local varieties also can have more flavor and less shelf stability than supermarket standard produce.
Pick your own makes a great family outing. Take your kids out to the farm with you.Teach them to love fruit and vegetables and associate them with fun times. Kids at my organic CSA Heirloom Harvest run up and down the rows laughing and picking and nibbling snap peas and other pick your own produce. Fresh fruit and veggies taste so good and they will be vested in eating it because they ran around the field and picked it.
Get outside for some exercise. Exercise is a natural part of farming. You walk to the fields bend and stretch in the picking and walk back. The space is open, the air is fresh and clean . Outdoor Energy is so nourishing and grounding. I look forward to this time as the winter transitions to spring.