Monday, May 28, 2012

The farmer's market

My parents were in town for Memorial Day weekend, so we had some fun picking strawberries and exploring one of the local farmer's markets. Haley was in her element. I have 4 small strawberry plants in my garden but we're rarely able to salvage any of the berries before the birds get them. When we do manage to find one or two berries, I make a big production out of it and let Haley pick, wash and eat them. At the farm though, she was surrounded by rows upon rows of strawberry bushes with fresh, plump berries. She was giddy with excitement.

Grandpa had to guide her a few times to make sure she didn't pick berries that were a little too green, but for the most part she knew exactly which ones to pick. By the end, we had a whole bucketful waiting to be used for topping cereals and ice cream.

After strawberry picking, we browsed one of the local farmer's markets that opens up each weekend during growing season. There were so many fruits and veggies to choose from, it was hard not to buy everything. My mom and dad loved it. As a kid, I have many memories of my dad dragging my brother and I out to some farm hours away from the house to get fresh produce and enjoy some country air. 

One of my favorite memories as a kid was driving out to a farm owned by a Mennonite family an hour or so away in the countryside. They raised cattle and other livestock on site, and my brother and I would wander around the grounds looking for baby kittens in the barns. We were usually able to find a few unfortunate kittens that wandered away from their mothers, and we carried them around with us before my mom and dad made us pile in the car for home. My favorite part of the visit though was always the homemade ice cream made with fresh cream from their cows. Mmm, as I sit here writing this, I can still taste the creamy scoop of coconut ice cream that I would always get.

They didn't have homemade ice cream at the market, but they did have plenty of everything else. Everywhere you looked there were vendors from local farms offering the pick of the crop or jars of homemade jellies, relishes and baked goods. by the time we headed home, we had several bags worth of blueberries, beets, fresh corn, and one giant watermelon perfect for Memorial Day.

Make sure you come back tomorrow, I have a great giveaway for you!

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