Was it easy-breezy? Was it all play and no work? Of course not, and therein lies the value. I think my children learned quite a bit about what it takes to put food on the table, or to make a living growing food. Yes they help in our small home garden, but this experience suggested the greater challenge and scope of a farmer's work.
It was the top of a 97-degree day. There was no shelter from the blinding, setting sun. Since it was the end of berry season, you had to constantly search, and take many footsteps to fill your basket. The sun lit far-off berries like rubies, but just when you thought you were closing in for the pick, your own body cast a disguising, disorienting shadow. There was lots of bending up and down, up and down. And this was the fun part, the harvesting. When my 7-year-old daughter saw the expansive rows she said, "Wow, you have to walk a lot to be a farmer."
The farm we visited had strawberry plants as far as the eye could see. Immense, but not big enough to drown out the cries we heard from another 7-year-old girl in the field. "Daddy! I'm sweaty! This is itchy! Eww -- there's strawberry juice on me!"
Our society certainly is disconnected from farming. This makes me sad. I guess that's why I smile that pick-your-own farms like this one help form a stronger relationship between farmer and consumer. I like how they reinforce the idea that honest work reaps worthwhile rewards. I hope you will support local farms in your own community.
I was particularly charmed by the green sign at the farm's check-out area. No
Their faith in human nature is even more delicious than their berries.