A few weeks back, I took the advice of GRIT Editor-in-Chief K.C. Compton and went down to Osage County to pick fresh blackberries at Fieldstone Orchard near Overbrook, Kansas.
It was a Sunday afternoon, around 2 p.m., and sunny and warm out. I took my girlfriend and the dog along, and it turned out to be one of those moments in life that remind you of days gone by when you get more out of it than what you expect. Don’t get me wrong, I was excited about it, but I just didn’t expect berry picking to be so easy.
Picking blackberries is one of my mom’s favorite things to do. I can remember midsummer days spent fishing and stopping by a favorite blackberry bush to fill a plastic bag with blackberries on our way home.
And those times were always great. I loved picking and eating juicy, cool-tasting blackberries as the sun went down after a day outdoors, oftentimes wiping the juice on my already-dirty shirt. But most times those locations dealt with keeping an eye out for rattlesnakes and getting poked by a briary bush.
It was a different experience at Fieldstone, I had gloves on and didn’t wipe my hands on my shirt, and the briars weren’t as bad as I remembered them being. One thing remained the same though; opting to pick our own – it’s $2.75 per pound to pick your own or $3.50 to buy already picked berries – I couldn’t help myself and numerous times plucked a dark berry from up underneath the plant and shoved it into my mouth, and tasting the deliciousness made it even harder to stop at just one.
I did feel a little bad, but probably made up for eating a few off the plant by picking nearly 5 pounds of berries. We ate them on the way home and all afternoon, then Gwen washed them, let them dry completely and froze them. We still have a bag in the freezer, just waiting for that day when we crave to eat berries out on the porch – or if they make it to winter, bake a tasty blackberry cobbler.
I’ll soon miss these midsummer days.
Caleb Regan and his wife, Gwen, live in rural Douglas County, Kansas, where they enjoy hunting, fishing, and raising and growing as much of their own food as they can. Caleb can’t imagine a better scenario than getting to work on a rural lifestyle magazine as a profession, and then living that same lifestyle right in the heartland of America. Connect with him on Google+.