One Berry, Two Berry (take two)

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Or, Organic Food so Local you can See it from Here.

It never ceases to amaze me when things come full circle.  One of my very first posts on this blog was about a trip blackberry picking with Noodle.  At that time, she had just turned one and still had a NG tube taped to her cheek.  The organic farm we visited was 5 minutes from our home, and one of the few places we had time to visit between each feeding since she was fed via pump.  I strapped her in the Baby Bjorn and “we” picked berries.  Such a memorable outing!

note the blackberry stain on her romper and how even then she wouldn’t look at the camera!

To my dismay, that organic farm closed.  My once-a-week respite from our mind numbing schedule of feeding, puking, and {not} sleeping was gone.

Until this year.  They reopened, with different owners but with similar mission– to educate and cultivate the local/organic movement.  Immediately I knew I had to do something to keep it open, even if that one thing was small.  Because, if we all do small one thing for a cause we love, they add up, and become one BIG thing!

To my delight, a trip to the farm and market was met with enthusiasm from a group of local bloggers {of which I belong} called Philadelphia Social Media Moms.  Last week, a lively group of us met at Longview Center for Agriculture to get the “dirty” on what they do.

A portion of our group– blogging mamas, their friends, and family.

 

And, of course, got to pick blackberries in the same thicket I visited with Noodle two years ago.

Farmer Mark gave us a tour of the demonstration garden.  We ate Sungold tomatoes straight from the vine.  Juice ran down our chins as we munched on them.  I’m not a tomato fan, but I must say this was on of the best things I’d eaten.  EVER.

The luscious beds of zinnias are more than just eye candy.

 

It was fascinating to learn they planted these brilliant flowers to attract beneficial insects to help pollinate the veggies.  Buds on tomato plants are small and hard to see, but these zinnias are like a huge red “X” on a pollen map.  The butterflies and bees made for a lot of beautiful activity buzzing around the garden!

 

 

 

Why, hello, Mr. Butterfly!

Nature can be so very perfect.

Did you know how asparagus grew?  Can you believe this beautiful field is all asparagus?  I want to plant some in my yard, those sage colored sprouts are ethereal!

 

The orchards were producing not-quite-yet-ripe apples.  Noodle was amazed when she saw where apples came from– kinda the whole point of the tour, I’d say.

 

Another cool organic fact: see that tall grass around the orchard?  It’s long on purpose, so that bacteria that like to destroy apples hang out there instead of on the apples.  So they don’t have to use as much spray on the apples– which, of course, means safer apples.  Wonder if that would work in my yard, with, like, flu germs? {for real I know it won’t, but I’m just saying it would be cool if it did}.

Then: blackberry time.  The trick to getting sweeter blackberries is to pick the darkest, blackest ones you can find.  They should fall off the vine into your hand.  Anything you have to pull off isn’t yet ready for picking.  Noodle got the concept to pick the dark ones, and she became an expert blackberry picker!

 

you can see the blackberry dirt flying off them as Noodle did her picking.  Action shot!

 

At one point I was grabbing some berries from up high when a fellow blogger snapped a photo of our Noodle stuffing her face with berries.  Yes, friends, this once tube-fed baby was now snarfing down a fistful of juicy berries!

I tried to capture it on film but someone got shy.

 

Girlfriend has five blackberries in her mouth here.  FIVE BLACKBERRIES.

We spent a minute in the shade resting and looking at our blackberry hands.

 

After picking, we headed into the market for some local and organic food.

Forget the baskets, we got a cart and filled it UP.

Whole Foods, eat your heart out.  Talk about local.  Some of these fruits and veggies were literally picked a few footsteps away.

 

 

 

 

When we got home, I proudly placed our bounty on the counter and gloated as if I’d hunted and gathered it myself.  Yes, eating local/organic food can be more expensive but it’s worth it when you can see exactly where your food came from.  I’m working on other ways to work our budget so we can eat like this more often.

 

 

Full circle feels good.  How two years ago in my despair I took a trip blackberry picking, and now we’re here again.  Where once she was fed through a tube, now she’s fed from a farm.

It’s the simple things, you know what I mean?  The simple joys of summer that seep into our skin and memories and remind us that life can be so very, very sweet.

 So.  Who’s up for some blackberry cobbler?

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4 Comments

  1. Love the pictures! The ones you took of your daughter are so much better than mine!

    I forgot to go into the market so of course, now I have to go back.

  2. “Where once she was fed through a tube, now she’s fed from a farm.” That has to be one of the best lines ever! 😀

    We somehow missed the maple syrup (bummer) even though we lingered in the market for quite some time drinking our peach smoothie. We did manage to bring home some of the best plums ever though!

    If our schedule works out I’m thinking of heading back for the Mater & Tater fest in a couple weeks.

  3. Love your photos! It certainly looks like your little Noodle had a blast! It’s nice to see how far she’s come. Thanks again for organizing the trip! We had a great time and I love supporting local farms and teaching my son about them.

  4. I love the full circle. Noodle is so cute stuffing those blackberries in her mouth. I fully believe in supporting local farmers. I never buy produce in the grocery store (except bananas) during the growing season. We’re blessed to have lots of “plain people” farms in our area. I think it’s very important to feed my family fresh, local produce. When the girls get older we’ll join our local CSA and volunteer on the farm.

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