Saturday morning romps through Iowa countryside always make me grin. Trade in the fast-beat bustle of city life for smooth chords of cornfields blowing among 30 million acres of space.
The alarm nearly beat the sun this morning, cutting REM early to drive towards silencio. Berry plucking, 20-hour smoked brisket and butterflies were on today's docket.
Turning from tarmac to gravel on the last pull to the berry patch, the lane was flanked by Holsteins shooting brown magma patties from their tails. Pigtails winkled her nose and yelled "Daddy, this road smells like doo doo!" As my Mom used to say when we drove to the farm, "there's nothing like the fresh smell of country air."
I wanted to hook up with the supply that feeds the farmers' market, so we visited Berry Patch Farm to harvest blueberries, strawberries and red raspberries. In season, you can also pick your own rhubarb, blackberries, gooseberries, currants, cherries, apples and pumpkins.
Blueberries at the grocery store run $4.50 a pint. We hand picked them today at $2.50 a pound, and they're sweeter since we pull them at peak ripeness. The morning dew hadn't yet turned to gas, smokey clouds turned back the sun. Curls beside and my daughter beaming, it was time to bag the little blue balls.
Note the intermixed photos of random strangers annoyed by Nikon going paparazzi today.
|acres deep in young blueberry bushes, each one spits 5 pounds of fruit, 15 lbs when fully mature|
|she loved it|
Blueberries blah blah, you're bored, let's move on to strawberries. Highlight was a plump gal barking over-and-over to her teen daughter "THIS SUCKS!" as she had to bend over into moist plants to work for her reward. Maybe she was PO'd they didn't have a Rascal and Magic Grabber available in the field to help reap the fruit.
The raspberries were excellent, their sweet-cream taste were our favorite over the blue and straw'.
We thought it wise to balance out all those berry antioxidants with platters of meat. Hickory Park for the win, a family-owned smokehouse that doesn't spank the wallet.
Smoked wiener, brisket, beans and some other junk.
|hand added for scale|
Whoops, look at that, it's midnight, nearly time for bed and I need to wash my berries. I'll rattle out the butterfly report next time.