Saturday, August 17, 2013

A Berry Beautiful Day...

Santa Barbara Blueberries

When I think of summertime, I think of fresh berries from the vine. Raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, yes, Yes, YES!!! At my childhood home, we had blackberry bushes that ran along the back fence of our property. I remember picking the delicate fruit from the thorny vines that provided a natural and delicious fence. Good times, good memories!

Today, I visited two U-Pick 'Em farms that are 30 minutes north of Santa Barbara. My first stop was at Santa Barbara Blueberries. Although the peak of the season has passed, there were still hundreds of sweet blueberries waiting to fulfill their berry destiny. I went up and down the rows carefully looking over each bush, picking and filling my bucket as I went along. I was told that snakes can be found on the farm, so I just whistled as I picked, hoping to discourage them from crossing my path. I am pretty sure that whistling is not a snake repellent, but it gave me the confidence to explore. When my bucket was full, I made my way back to the blueberry stand and paid for my pickings. Before I left, I sat down for a few minutes and took in the sights and sounds of excited children as they ran through the fields, discovering blueberries for the first time. So simple, yet so joyful.

My next adventure awaited me at Ladybug Acres, a rambling farm with an amazing bounty of produce such as raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes, green beans and melons. Exploring this farm was like being transported to the Country Fair. As I picked raspberries, my favorite berry, I imagined what it would be like to live on a farm, away from the hustle and bustle of city life. I think the 'Little House on the Prairie' side of me would enjoy that life.

I hope to visit both farms again next year. For now, I look forward to baking delicious tarts, pies, cobblers and muffins, filling my kitchen with the sweet smells of baked goods. I will leave the jam making to my sister who lives in Oregon, where berries grow so naturally and beautifully in the wild.

I guess you can say that it has been a berry beautiful day!