Originally published in the Greenwood Daily Journal and on Earth Eats July 10, 2011
Every once in a while ,when I am at the Grocery store with my youngest, he likes to entertain me with his ability to ask 150 questions without taking a breath. I am sure you have been there. I mean, how many things could he possibly need to know in that 30 minute time frame in the store?
Sometimes his queries are valid. Like where are bananas grown, why are tomatoes so expensive in the winter. I wonder these things myself. But last week he asked me why I was buying berries at the store when it was berry season and we could pick our own. Sometimes his insights shock me. He had made a good point. I had just been talking to the boys that morning about going berry picking to stock up the freezer.
So that day I hopped online and found out that 25 minutes from my house there was a berry farm that was open for business. I made a few calls to verify their hours and planned our little road trip south for the next day.
Armed with our little berry buckets, bottled water and a camera we headed south to Morgantown. The directions were easy and it was a beautiful day for driving. Crystal clear skies and the temperature was a light 79 degrees. We were excited and the boys were already placing bets on who would pick more. I was just happy to see that they were so interested in a day picking berries outside. I thought I would have a hard time getting them motivated but man was I wrong.
When we pulled up to Zink’s Berry Farm I was pleasantly surprised. The beautiful rolling fields were the first sight that greeted us. We were immediately given a tour of the berry fields by the owner, Jill Zink. I was amazed at the organization of the bountiful bushes.
We could have picked all day. Her raspberry bushes were full of red, ripe berries. We had employed the ‘eat one…save one’ method. We had to know how they tasted, right?
Finally after about 2 hours of picking I had to peel the boys out of there. They loved it and I think this trip really turned my oldest son onto the raspberry. He was full of questions and suggestions about what we would do with them, much to my delight. I didn’t let on how excited I was that he tried them, finally. All told we came home with 3 gallons of fresh, hand-picked berries.
On the way home we stopped at another Morgantown landmark that we had also never been to. Having driven by Kathy’s Cafe many times on my way to Nashville, I had only heard good things about this little lunch spot. We were greeted warmly when we entered, we were strangers treated like family. The boys were starving so we quickly ordered a few of their specials and were shocked when our food was out in 5 minutes!
Topping it all off we each had a slice of their freshly baked pie. I had my favorite, Coconut Cream with the boys picking a more traditional chocolate and butterscotch. That pie was the real thing. Real custard, real meringue and real crust.
All told our little outing was not only economical but also memorable. I heard them whispering just last night about those ripe, juicy berries so I am planning on heading back down there this weekend to see if the blackberries or red currants are ready. I feel like the greater lesson here was that we can find what we need and want to buy, close to home, grown on a farm we know and trust.
We traveled off the beaten path, discovered a new family favorite and had a great time together. It didn’t hurt that we were able to find 2 new (to us) local businesses that we will definitely return to. Sometimes the usual day trip to the zoo or to a museum is not what we have in mind.
Best part was coming home and making this tasty cobbler. I must admit, it didn’t last long. Best part of all was that we had a great time, together, picking these berries. We had an even better time together eating the fruits of our labor, together.
Fresh Berry Cobbler
|2 1/2||cups fresh blackberries and raspberries. I used half and half.|
|1||cup all-purpose flour|
|2||teaspoons baking powder|
|1/2||cup butter, melted
*optional 2 TB of Turbinado sugar
In medium bowl, stir together berries and sugar. Let stand about 20 minutes so it macerates a little.