August 14th, 2016 by Jan

It is fruit season. Summer time means berry time in our neck of the woods, and I’m delighted.

Blackberry bushes abound and the fruit is free for the picking! I can fill a zip lock baggie on almost every walk I take.

Ken and I stopped at a blueberry farm in Powell River last week and picked 28 pounds of the perfect fruit. I would have picked more, but it was really hot and we had a boat to catch.

Cherries are already in the freezer. They are the first sign around here that summer is come. Raspberries are next.

Now is also the time for peaches, apricots, nectarines and plums, and since this story is titled A for apple, I better mention that apples are coming on. We get these from a guy in Davis Bay who brings them in from the Okanagan.

There is a harvest race on the coast between the bears, birds, and people with tasty ripe fruit as the prize. I’ve yet to pick blackberries without thinking about the bears in the area, knowing I better not get too greedy or venture too far into the woods.

As much as Ken loves having a shed full of split fire wood – I love having a freezer full of fruit. Stocking up puts me in a comfort zone. I feel our abundance when we have a full freezer.

I’ve always been a fruit picker. I worked at a blueberry farm in Oregon for a couple of years. I can’t say I made a living at it, but that particular job paid for my China trip in 1994.

I also paid my rent picking cherries in Colorado in the early 70s. So what if the rent at the house was maybe $75. each month and I was one of a dozen hippies, give or take, sharing expenses at the time!

It might have been a job to some, but for me it,  was a grand time. I remember sitting on a tall wooden ladder, high up in a cherry tree, listening to the manager of the farm, complaining that, “The hippies are worse than the Mexicans” when it came to picking fruit.

There was no doubt about it. We hippies were horrible workers. We smoked pot, drank beer, and sat high in the tress, enjoying the view, listening to music, and eating more fruit than we picked for the man. All the while the Mexicans were actually working their butts off, in the hot sun, trying to support a family and hoping to make enough money to move to the next farm and make it to the next season.

Still, for me, great times were had, and fine memories made then. To this day, I am happiest in a field of fruit that needs picking. Leave me alone and let me collect. I can fill a bucket with joyful determination.

I still probably eat more than my fair share while picking, but, I do my best.

This time of year it is my job to fill our freezer with the bounty of the area and even in retirement, I relish the work.

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