If you haven’t had the experience of picking your own fruits or vegetables, I highly recommend it. There is something about going to a farm or garden to pick food grown and nurtured with care, that gives it a lovely flavor. The only thing better is if the food you gather carries with it the taste of your childhood.
I just visited Baugher’s Farm with my parents for our annual sour cherry picking trip. It was great to connect with those who have grown this special fruit, protected it, and now invite the rest of us in to be a part of the farm-to-table journey. We make a day of it, enjoying the trip over, taking in all the sights, scents and sounds of the farm, and gently picking just the right sour cherries to fill our buckets (already anticipating the sour cherry jam and the rice dish – Albaloo Polo – we’ll make when we get home). We end the outing by tasting their delicious homemade ice cream and stopping for lunch before heading back.
One of the things I enjoy the most about this day is sharing the experience with my parents. As we go about gathering our sour cherries for the year, we see many families who come from all around the region, and many cultures. The families often have several generations present, children helping their grandparents navigate the uneven ground, mom and dad checking to make sure their children and parents are not too tired or hot, and everyone sharing stories, memories, and laughter.
I imagine each family returning home at the end of the day, happy and tired and grateful to have had this time together. The taste of the sour cherries will bring back memories of growing up, prompt parents and grandparents to share stories of their own life (each family’s stories will be unique to them and have common threads others sharing the same culture would find instantly familiar). The sour cherries will sparkle like jewels in recipes infused with the love, history, and story of their family and heritage.
I’m already looking forward to next year.
(Originally published on 7/10/2011)