Yesterday I went to Sauvie Island with my lovely lady friends (and their super cute little boys) and we picked berries. We picked and ate and chatted for hours. It was wonderful. Today we make jam.
I gotta put a shout out to any readers that are local and like picking fruit out on Sauvies: the cherries are amazing! And they are going to be done by the end of the week (do you hear an alarm sounding? I sorta do) one farm hand told us that peaches would already be ripe next week?!?! wow. Seems like the strawberry season lasted a month, but suddenly the raspberries and cherries have come in and out of season in a matter of a week! My goodness. You gotta be on top of this stuff, us city slickers just don't have a finger on the pulse of the farm ripening.
Picking cherries was fun as always. Even though we had headed out to Krugers specifically for raspberries, we made a stop at the GM farm (the road before Krugers) and found the cherries ripe for picking. I guess all this cloud cover and moisture has them ideal and ready to burst. There was a man working on the trees (they cut the branches each year so the tree will grow more and fruit even more the following year) and he first made us taste every type of cherry (I hadn't realized last year that every tree is a different type of cherry) and the Vans cherries won out. He cut down branches for us from the Vans tree and we picked all the ripe berries off the fallen branches. In the past I've climbed the ladders and picked that way... so this experience was quite unique! The farmer said "I'd rather see the branches falling off the trees than the people falling off the ladders!". I can appreciate that.
Then we continued down the road to Krugers. Awesome picking as always! Supposedly the raspberries were "picked over" from a busy weekend, but we cleared house, easily picking almost 2 flats of berries by diving into the plants and finding many many ripe lucious berries for the taking.
4 year old Micah kept saying "they are so beautiful!" and we were calling them jewels. They really did look like jewels.
Ripe yummy gems, like earrings dangling on the plants - and they seem to say to me "Pick me! Pick me! I am soo yummy!"
Okay, so I gotta add a link to Farmer Don's blog:
I was just reading last night about the land use decision by the county, evidently the locals have put an end to any weddings out under the big oak tree. Evidently the wedding party buying hundreds of dollars of flowers and food for the event was not recognized as a the farm selling their agricultural product. @*&@^*# Farmer Don's events out on Krugers farm is an integral way to how he sustains a farm with organic no-spray methods, only him and 4 farm hands (I find that amazing, 80 acres and 4 guys! and thousands of u-pickers!) and continues to grow rather than go bankrupt.
Heres the deal, Sauvie Island is agriculturally zoned land. All operations on Krugers farm must be oriented around the production and sale of what he grows on his land. There's an article that Farmer Don links to on his blog where you can read more.
I think this is outrageous. Let me get up on my soapbox for a moment to say that the locals out on the Island think the pumpkin patch festivities in October are great (the ones put on by the local farmers), but Farmer Don (the California man that they hoped would leave after he went broke) is on their sh*t list. He managed to come in and save a beautiful farm from acquisition and abuse by major agricultural corporations - he made the gorgeous land publicly available for MY enjoyment. Evidently the locals are sick of this man and they see no positivity in the success he has found in letting the city people come out and enjoy the bounty of Sauvie Island. They think he makes noise and blocks traffic on the bridge. They have decided he can have concerts, but no weddings... pumpkin patch and corn maize, but no kid birthday parties with hayrides. WTF. And Farmer Don's only choice now is to roll over and obey, or appeal the county decision. In other words: throw a bunch more money at lawyers and the county in order to try and persuade them to let people take their vows under his beautiful oak tree and celebrate their love by feeding their family with organic fruits and veggies with flowers on the tables that were picked on that very farm. Everyone wants a piece of the pie, that's what I see. I am appalled. Now I will get down off my soapbox.