This is one of my favorite times of the year, strawberry picking season. A time to have a hands on relationship with the food that I will be eating now and over the winter months.
If you haven’t had the opportunity please give picking your own food a try. If you are blessed with a little land, plant a garden or a small potted garden on your windowsill.
Whether picking strawberries in June, blueberries in July, raspberries in Aug, or apples in Sept/October it can be a pleasant experience. Bring some children, family or friends and make a day of it as you build memories. As a child, my sisters and I would go picking with my mother and her sister, Aunt Mimi. On my first venture into the field, I couldn’t understood why they wanted to sit on the ground in the blazing sun picking strawberries. It seemed going to the air-conditioned grocery store was much easier. But, when we returned home to clean the berries and prepare strawberry shortcake for Dad, that’s when it became fun!
Now I cherish the memories of those days in the fields, sharing time with the women in my life. When I saw the young mother and her small child it brought back memories of quiet talks about life, food and time spent sharing a day filled with love. The experience was priceless.
What I have discovered in adulthood is that picking fruit is very meditative. When I pick with my sister we start off with some chatter about past experiences, family, changes in relationships over time and other non-important banter.
After around fifteen minutes we begin to flow into our own rhythm and spread out in different directions. She in deep thought and I with camera in hand take in the surroundings, children popping one strawberry in their mouth as they place one in the basket. There were sibling groups huddled together in deep conversation as they picked and whole families enjoying time together.
Then, I fell into a methodical rhythm thinking loving thoughts with every berry placed in the tray.
Memories of sharing fruit with my children, grandchildren and guests began to whirl in my mind making me smile. Then came thoughts of healthy lunches of spinach salad with strawberries, blueberries, feta cheese topped with pecans and a little balsamic vinaigrette blend.
Some people come to pick one quart basket but not us, we fill an entire tray and we try to return two times per fruit season to pick enough to freeze and take us through the winter. This past week I opened the last bag of frozen strawberries, just in time for the new bags to replace last year’s fruit. There are still a couple of bags of frozen blueberries. That is because last year I picked so many the freezer was filled even after sharing.
So the benefits of picking your own: meditative, relaxing, you know what you are purchasing and whether they have been sprayed, supporting local farmers and their families, pick with thoughts of love so each piece is filled with loving energy, pick enough to last the entire year, and sharing a special time with others. There’s nothing better than going to the freezer in the middle of winter to grab a bag of fresh fruit.
Having a garden filled with fresh vegetables is another blessing that I have missed the last three years. Although I don’t have my own garden, I do purchase at the local farmer markets and freeze vegetables too. Waiting for the zucchini to make a delicious zucchini parmesan.
For now, I shall enjoy the gift of my labor with a strawberry shortcake and remember times shared with my mother and father on this Father’s Day. Bon appetit!
If you have the opportunity to connect with your food through picking fruits or vegetables give it try. If you live in an area of the world where you are blessed with other connections to food please share. I would love to hear of your blessings.
Love and Light!