Another Summer Memory in the Books

downloadWe’d watched their Facebook page for weeks, looking for the much-anticipated announcement.

“Usually in mid June,” they said.

June 14th passed.

Then the 15th.

The 16th.

“Soon!” a post promised.

We waited impatiently as a few more days passed.

Finally, on June 20th, the post we’d been waiting for arrived: “The fields are open!

Yes! It was strawberry picking time.

Unfortunately, the soonest we could make it to the farm was two days later. Two whole days! I could just imagine everyone else picking away, harvesting the cream of the crop. The delay was agonizing! Over and over, I had to remind myself that more berries ripen every day,  and I crossed my fingers that this year the crop was bountiful.

On the 22nd, we woke early in the morning and set off. After about ten minutes, we slowed and turned onto the bumpy dirt road. A plume of dust rose and fell in our wake and around us the fields rolled off into the distance. Already the parking lot was full of cars. We looked at each other uneasily: Would there be any berries left? 

We parked, then read and followed the clearly posted new protocols. Directional arrows guided us to large tanks of water and soap. We washed our hands and then moved on to pick up cardboard containers. Suitably sanitized and equipped, we headed for the fields, careful to distance ourselves from other pickers.

As soon as we got settled and started picking, we knew.

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“Oh my Gosh! Look at these berries!” we enthused.

“Check this one out!”

“There are so many of them! I barely have to move!”

“This is the best strawberry picking we’ve ever had!”

We picked and picked and picked.

“Do you think we have enough?”

“Let’s just pick a few more. These are amazing berries!”

In about thirty minutes, we were done picking and ready to go. We paid up and drove home.

Once we placed the flats on the counter, we realized that we had picked A LOT of berries. Gorgeous, plump, ripe berries. But A LOT of berries. Oops.

The anticipated two-three batches of jam turned into four, then five and then six. The kitchen air hung thick and humid with the scent of cooking strawberries, and we ate jam by the sweet, sticky spoonful. Still there were berries! Onto Strawberry pie. Strawberry puree. On and on and on. Hour after delicious hour.

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Finally, we were done. All the strawberries were processed, the kitchen was clean, and the carefully jarred jam stood in neat rows on the counter, clicking as it cooled.

1-3It was a delicious, berry-full day… Another summer memory in the books.

Jamberry by Bruce Degen

13 thoughts on “Another Summer Memory in the Books

  1. Love this! First, you had me guessing at the wrong kind of field opening 🙂 Then the pleasure of picking and how hard it is to stop. The happy dealing with the abundance. My favorite detail- how the jars click as they cool. I also appreciate the addition of the Jamberry page!
    Thanks for reminding us of this simple summer pleasure.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. jumpofffindwings says:

    Oh my gosh, you capture the anticipation and result,”The kitchen air hung thick and humid with the scent of cooking strawberries, and we ate jam by the sweet, sticky spoonful. Still there were berries!” so gloriously in this post! It is almost time for our local farm to responsibly allow picking appointments for my summer-into-winter obsession: blueberries. I am a freezer-full kinda girl, and you’ve made me salivate.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. margaretsmn says:

    Wow! So many gorgeous, plump strawberries. I wish you could ship me some of that jam. I usually go to a pick-your-own blueberry farm in late May, but I was deep into babysitting then. Maybe next year when the grand boys are both walking.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Blueberries aren’t ripe here until late July/August and blackberries even later. I have masses of blackberries at our house so that will probably be my next jam venture. (Picked raspberries and made raspberry jam today — Yum!)

      Liked by 2 people

  4. mgminer says:

    My mouth is watering. Summer canning gives a feeling of strength like nothing else. Maybe it’s the connection we feel to all the women before us who preserved all they could.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Amanda Potts says:

    I have many wonderful memories of picking and jamming strawberries. This post brought them rushing back. Oh, the “sweet, sticky spoonfuls” of jam – and strawberry pie. There are raspberries along the paths near the cottage where we’re staying, but I’m not willing to brave the deer flies for them. Sigh.

    Like

  6. Gail Aldous says:

    You hooked me from the first sentence, again, and kept reeling me in! Reminded me of picking strawberries once with my friend’s family, eating too many, even though I was warned, and being embarrassed from vomit ing on the side of the road. Also, brought back memories of picking with my girls and my dad when we had a huge strawberry patch. I also love the sentence, “The kitchen air hung thick and humid…” I love the paragraph when you realized how many berries you picked and ended with, “Oops.” I’ve been there.

    We’ve been eating plenty of raspberries and blueberries!

    Love your pics, the addition of the poem, and taking all of us with you again. I wonder how many berries you ate as you picked?

    Like

  7. Tabatha says:

    Wow!!! Love this post, Molly. Such a bounty.

    Like

  8. Such Yum!!
    Appreciations for these smiles & tastes.

    Like

  9. A berry-full day indeed. Such a summer-in-Maine activity. I see books for you to write all the time. A children’s book. Have you tried your hand at elementary or YA books? I know, I know. When! Just a thought from someone who doesn’t have to do all the writing and planning and ruminating. Ideas are easy! Don’t mention it!

    Like

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