So last week, I’m squatting in between rows at Thompson Finch Farm, sweaty, hot, knees soaked, shoving my box ahead of me.
It was my second time strawberry picking, and this time I wasn’t alone, but talking to a friend who was one row over, she also pushing her box ahead of her. Joey was somewhere over there, sometimes a hat poking out over the rows, other times lying in the straw between rows making strange arty videos with his phone. There were girls, our two and two more sisters we’d brought along, and Sadie and one of the sisters picked like champs, filling two boxes between them with a sense of purpose and responsibility. A few rows down, Rosie and the other sister ate strawberries and talked about Dance Moms or lip balm or I’m not even sure. There was a whole preschool class further down in the field, all in tiny sun hats, most crying, the others sitting in a circle in the path eating popcorn and trying not to cry. There was a woman there all in white, standing over the field while her family picked, shielded by an umbrella and looking gorgeous in tall green Hunter boots.
If you live within a day’s drive to Ancram, NY, I sure hope you’ve got strawberry picking on your calendar soon, because it’s really good right now. I’ve talked to far too many people who have never been to Thompson-Finch Farm, or who just pay their whole month’s rent for a pint of their organic strawberries at the store, so I wanted to come here before the week is truly over and remind you to go, go, GO!
If you need a little nudge, I’m here to offer you an official list, my…
5 STEPS TO STRAWBERRY PICKING SUCCESS!
I’m having a very particular conversation with my garden this year.
If I had known who I would be 10 years after moving into my house, if I had known what I would love and what I would want, I might have listened to friends and experts and every article in Mother Earth News and I would have done it right from the start. I would have built strong raised beds and a good fence and taken a few classes in soil science and steered the garden away from the wilderness of pine and weeds and thistle that lines my yard.
Instead, right at the beginning, I improvised. I dug a tiny square already framed by thistle and bittersweet. I added a few bags of compost and I planted some kale.
All season at the market we have a rectangular basket at the front of the Indian Line Farm table that always holds the micro greens. We pack little ziplock bags full of them, and they go for 3 bucks a pop which can seem steep when you hold the tiny bag in your hand, especially weighing it against a big voluptuous bunch of kale, which also sets you back 3 bucks. So I often end up having to argue in defense of micro greens.
Here I go.
So I’m leaning against the side counter, waiting for our drinks.
It’s Mother’s day, and my sister and I have scooped up the tiny pocket of time before our mother goes to work and my sister studies for finals to walk down together the three of us and buy my mother one of her secret treats, a decaf soy latte. I’m waiting for said soy latte, along with an iced americano (me) and an au lait (the signature drink of all 16 year olds) for my sister. I am spacing out the window, high on the scones Sadie made me and the lilacs Rosie picked me and the extra sleep I got while all that was happening. It’s hot, and the coffee shop is empty and bright and only noisy with grinding.