Dearest Clara, This past week, I just couldn’t stop thinking about strawberries. I guess I read too many articles on picking your own fruit because I packed us up in the car and insisted that we pick our own too. As it turned out, we were too late for the strawberries, but it was the first day that the blueberry “patch” was open, so blueberries it was. I thought that blueberries grew in bogs, like cranberries, but that just goes to show you how much your mother knows—it turns out they were potted in large planters in a field. You turned out to be a much better at picking than I, although I was much better at putting them in the basket. You (perhaps like your father) seemed to be concentrated on eating them. But the whole day out at the berry farm got me thinking about a few different things I hope you’ll remember:
- Take the time to learn where your food comes from: Our experience so far has been mostly living in cities, and it’s so easy to think that your food just comes from aisle six of the supermarket. But food is a little more complicated than that—someone had to grow it, to pick it, to take care of it, to package it. Don’t take that for granted—knowing where your food comes from makes you appreciate what you put in your own body.
- Gathering your own food takes tremendous time and care: After about an hour in the blueberry patch, we had barely half a bucket to show for our work, yet when you go to the grocery store there are cartons upon cartons of berries. If you’re not in charge of providing your own food, make sure you appreciate those that do. It’s not something many people do.
- Make time for the countryside: When you live in the city, it’s especially important to make time every once in a while to visit green space, farms, small towns . . . these are an important part of what makes living in the city possible. Not only will you see where our food and animals are from and meet the people responsible for it, but you’ll hopefully notice what fresh air should smell like, and what green grass should look like. It’s easy to get caught up in the pounding pavement and speed of the city, but that’s not all there is out there in the world—plenty of people do just fine without it and bring something completely different to the table.
- The best part of gathering your own food is eating it . . . with friends: We may not have picked all that many blueberries, but we added to our stash at the farm’s general store, and we added raspberries and blackberries too—enough for snacks on the way back, and pancakes for breakfast, and then some. Blueberries have never tasted better. When you have the satisfaction of eating what you grew or collected, it’s best shared with others, so always bring home extra, even if you buy it. After all, it’s still straight from the farm . . . and that tastes a little different than straight form aisle six.
So what’s next for us? Peaches? All my love, Mom