I will take you blueberry picking, but I'll have to blind-fold you, drive you there, confiscate any gps devices and swear you to secrecy. Because apparently that's the way things work.
I went with the New Friends yesterday. How they found this blueberry patch, I really don't care to know. It is a field of blueberries at the end of a dirt road and I swear it feels like you're headed for a meth lab. It is JUST SHORT of having shark jaws hanging from trees.
I gave the kids each a bucket and sent them off, telling them not to even bother coming back to the car until their buckets were full. Studley did not listen, which is good because he'd still be there. I'm not sure how many he picked but there were about 8 in his bucket at the end of the day. And four of them were green. Lucy did much better. I was feeling pretty good about my own haul, until I saw what my friends were taking out. They had a contractor's bucket.
I should maybe go a little earlier next time.
However, we got just enough to make 5 jars of blueberry jam. I made the jam because the berries are a trifle tart (honestly? they make me go cross-eyed). More importantly, did you catch that? The bit about 5 jars of blueberry jam? I, the consummate talker-not-doer, came home and made jam. I even canned it. And hey, guess what? I got that pressure canner over the winter and just discovered that all the foods, ALL THE FOODS, I want to can are high acid and don't need a pressure canner. Oopsie daisy. I discovered this just now in Putting Foods By (thank you Sturdy Girl, I bought it and love it). I have now spent so much money on growing and preserving my own food, I could have bought all our groceries for the last year at Dean and Deluca and had them Fed Exed. And I would have come out slightly ahead.
Live and learn.
As I mentioned before, the locations where you can pick top quality (a.k.a. easy to reach) blueberries are top secret. However, my friends are going to tell someone else about this one, in exchange for directions to a raspberry/blackberry patch. I feel like I've been welcomed into a secret society.
We used to go strawberry picking when we were kids at a pick-your-own strawberry place in Brewster. I remember them weighing us on the way out. I don't remember if they weighed us on the way in, but I do remember approaching the scale with trepidation on the way out - knowing I had just consumed a metric ton of strawberries. Then we'd eat strawberries all week and mom would make jam. I don't know how she did it in a rental cottage without the four grillion dollars worth of canning equipment I now own, but it was awesome.
On the other hand, foraging is great because a) no one weighs you and b) no one charges you. It is also great because you might find a baby bird in a nest among the blueberries. And also there's no poison ivy in the cultivated fields. Poison ivy keeps things much more interesting, don't you think?
I do hope Lucy and Studley remember these days. I can't duplicate my childhood for them, but I can certainly try to approximate some of it. A sort of "best of" collection, if you will. And days like this are definitely on the hit parade.