An obviously huge bonus of moving home to West Michigan has been the opportunity to spend more time with my family and today I had a chance to hang out with my mom and my sister for a little raspberry picking adventure.
Yes. I hear the snickering and laughter of my friends out there...specifically Loren, Andrew Mezeske and Ian DeGraaf. Let me be clear before I get too far into this post: I love raspberries. Probably way more than the normal person loves raspberries. And I once had an incident with eating too many raspberries and then maybe drinking too much wine at a public establishment when my boyfriend, now husband was bar tending. So yes, to all my friends out there who are reading this and remembering that fateful September night at Butch's, please get your laughs out now--ok? That was a bad time in my life and I should not have had that many berries or that many free tastes of wine at that tasting in the parking lot.....I admit it....Ok, moving on.
So, raspberry picking is a family tradition. When I was a little girl, for some reason, I spent a LOT of time with my grandmother...actually now that I'm thinking about that, I'm sort of wondering where my mom was...I mean, days on end, I would be at grandma's house, morning til evening....which, don't get me wrong was wonderful...but...where was my mom? Odd.....
At any rate my grandmother, just like me, loved raspberries, so she got me started on picking pretty early in life and it stuck. Every summer and fall my family would pick raspberries. It wasn't until I was in high school that occurred to me that other berries might be worthy of picking. I remember my first traumatizing experience picking a different berry (the old blue) with Nick Kuh's family--it wasn't good--first, it was totallllllyyy obvious that his mother did not want me there, we picked for like 5 hours straight with no breaks and the whole time she glared at me, plus for some unknown reason I was not allowed to take any berries home with me. Nick, if you're reading this 1) hey....it's been awhile and 2) I really wanted a few berries and 3) I'm sure your mom didn't mean to be like that..... So, obviously, after this experience and a few other haphazard attempts to pick strawberries or blackberries, it stuck with me--I was a raspberry kind of girl--no other berry need apply.
At any rate, raspberries became a summertime tradition and when Ian and I got together I tried to convince him to go berry picking with me. He responded with "That's manual labor." I suppose he's right, but I still love it. My grandma ended up planting loads of raspberry bushes at her house on Bonnell in East Grand Rapids and one of my favorite things to do at her house was gather those berries in the garden each day--There is something wonderfully calming about being alone in a quiet field full of berries--I can honestly spend hours out there and not even realize that time is passing until I have quarts and quarts full of my favorite treat.
Today my mom and Amy and I went out to Trapp's Berry Farm (the only place to pick as far as I'm concerned) and picked for about 2 hours. The berries are pretty great now, but the owner assured us that in 10 days there will be even more berries so we should come back. I managed to gather 4 quarts and brought them all back to the cottage, where, despite what you might believe, I have restrained myself from eating by the handful. Tonight I made an attempt at making raspberry hand pies (I'm a big fan of hand pies these days). I'll blog the hand pie process in a couple days...they just came out of the oven and look...decent. I wouldn't say great, but filled with fresh berries? I'm sure they are ab fab. Want to go berry picking me with? Just say the word!