Saturday, June 14, 2014

Picking Berries

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Last week, Kelley and I ventured north of Houston to Matt's Family Orchard, located in Tomball, Texas. The family orchard features over forty acres planted with rows of berry plants, mysterious fruit bearing trees, and surprising branches that hint at coming passionfruit. We trekked out to the orchard early Wednesday morning to beat the heat and the crowd. We received two white pails, received minimal instruction--"Pick the berries, weigh them, then eat them"--and got to pickin'.

As we traipsed up and down each berry aisle, the rising sun beating down on our necks, Kelley and I asked dreamer-questions. What are dreamer-questions? Mmm...though I just made up the term, dreamer questions are usually open ended questions that provoke one to consider goals and wishes and dreams.

For example:
If you could start any sort of business,
what would it be?

I answered with an idea along the lines of National Geographic, but strictly storytelling. Kelley would open a restaurant that presented local cuisines and used only locally grown foods...kind of like non-profit combined with free-trade.

The search for the biggest blackberry also occupied our time. That Wednesday marked the first day of the berry-picking season, and many of the bushes were painted with unripe berries. And yet, Kelley and I managed to fill up two pails with blackberries. More than enough for some homemade jam and some blackberry desserts and some extra berries added to Blue Bell Ice Cream.

I urge you to get out this summer, get out of your house, into your car, out of town and hit up a local berry patch or farm. The beauty of summer is the abundance of fresh fruits and the ability to relish in the cool sweetness of blackberries and strawberries and watermelon on these sweltering days.

If not a berry farm, try the local farmer's market, a snow cone stand, or just that friendly neighborhood child selling lemonade. Buy a watermelon come July 4th, brave the evening heat for an old'fashioned picnic, and make the best refreshments this summertime.