It's a yearly tradition. Usually first thing in May, but this year it happened a few weeks earlier.
The earlier, the better we thought! Strawberry picking can never come too soon.
Annalyse dug deep into the bushes and caught on right away that the red berries were best.
Maybe that's because her brothers repeatedly said, "White and green are yucky. Red is yummy!"
And when Annalyse would plop a bright red berry in the basket they would hug her and tell her job well done. Her I'm-Hot-Stuff grin said it all.
The fields were fairly empty with no yellow buses parked nearby. A friendly and elderly Ukranian couple shared helpful picking tips with my boys, and when they left, Grady Lee said, "Mom! Can you learn to talk like that?" I can only assume he thought their accent was entertaining.
And what's a little strawberry picking without some taste-testing along the way?
Micah was a devoted teacher and helper for Annalyse. She would wander the row, grab a fistful of berries, waddle back to Micah and excitedly show him her find. Micah would reward her with a hug and a "Good job sweetheart! But can you try to find bigger berries because those taste better."
When there is a job at hand, Grady Lee is focused. Always. Physical work envelopes him and he is 100 percent committed to the task. He likes to lift and pull and haul. He feels strong when he can "feel the sweat on my muscles." What was leisurely and fun to Micah and Annalyse was a nose-to-the-grindstone job for Grady Lee.
We all wore our matching Peeler Family t-shirts, and Micah pointed out this was a good idea "in case we get lost we can look for each other and our matching shirts." I cringed at his revelation because it made me feel like a theme park family down on the farm.
At one point Micah stopped, put his hands on his hips, and emphatically declared, "Whew! This sure is hard work and good exercise. But I don't know why the farmer doesn't just use a plow and scrape all the strawberries into a pile." This, of course, from the child who is much better at delegating tasks than completing tasks.
Since we're early in the season and I know there will be plenty of time to return, we stopped at seven pounds of berries. No plans to make jam or bake with this batch - just plans to eat 'em while they last! (And maybe enjoy some whip cream with them, too.)
A picnic lunch and slides and tricycles and a sandbox... oh my! I think we may have spent more time playing at the strawberry fields than we spent actually picking in the fields.
After measuring himself here, Micah asked if he would "measure a hundred inches higher next spring" if he ate only healthy food all summer long. I said he would definitely be taller next spring but not a hundred inches taller. His prompt reply: "Then why do you make me eat healthy vegetables that I don't like?"
If you're local, check out Hall Family Farm for some delicious berries and some springtime fun. And if you're not local, grab your kids and support a local farm. You're guaranteed an adventure or two and a whole lot of fun.