The recording at the other end of the line at Braeutigam Orchards said the blackberries were ready. That was the main draw for me. I grew up with thick blackberry vines along the fence behind our house, and I can remember the cobblers still.
The keeper of the wagon swore she wasn’t eating any.
Their vines are heavy with fruit – there are many, many more picking days ahead. I suggest you venture out there sometime soon.
A few years back we picked blueberries around the Fourth of July – this year everything is a couple of weeks behind schedule, so there still are so many blueberries. They are absolute perfection.
M and I pulled back the bird netting and picked from the top. F climbed beneath it and cleaned out the underbelly.
When E was in third grade, her class did a lot of researching (and visiting / working on) different types of farms – from small urban gardens, to mid-sized farms, to large commercial farms. When it came time for her to do her individual report she chose to interview Tom Range of Braeutigam Orchards – our family’s favorite place to pick apples in the fall. When he called E back for the interview, the two of them talked for nearly an hour on the phone. When her project was complete, I scanned her report and the collage she made to demonstrate the percentages of various crops on his farm. We remembered that he had mentioned his favorite (and most challenging) thing to grow – his peaches. Today was the first time we’ve been over there to actually pick them. He thanked me for taking the time to send him a copy of her work, and he commented on how nice a project it was. E’s back from Iowa tomorrow, and we’ll tell her what he said and eat peaches together.
We rode the tractor out to the where the peaches were growing, and Mr. Range told us how to tell if they were perfectly ripe. It’s not easy – you want a deep red or orange right at the stem, but that’s the part of the peach that’s hidden from sight. He told us to climb into the middle of the tree and look across it to find the best ones. Sometimes we got it right, sometimes we picked them and found that the dark red backsides had fooled us, and they were still yellow close to the branch. Regardless, they’ll be divine in a few days, and the ones we ate along the way were so juicy and delicious we had to lean out, over our shoes.
My parents grew up in Georgia, and I attended college in South Carolina, so I’m not even going to try and compare. Being able to jump in the car and drive over the river and through a couple of towns to get to a row of peach trees, and then pick them right off and eat them right there – well, there’s nothing wrong with that. So Illinois peaches have my vote for sure.
The red wagons are there for the borrowing, and the fruit is ripe for the picking. I highly recommend it – especially in this amazing stretch of weather we’re enjoying right now.