I encountered this memento mori of sorts on the strawberry box at Linvilla Orchards, a pick-your-own farm about 30 minutes from my house: Remember the berry season is short. It’s true. I love strawberries, and I especially love bright juicy red ones picked at their peak. But berry season is short, so it’s a struggle to get to the pick-your-own farm sometime between May 15 and June 15 (roughly). Get caught up in other things and next thing you know, the berries are gone until next year.
We managed to squeeze in a visit during the window this year, and had several other adventures this weekend as well. On Friday night we went to my husband’s office party and enjoyed some terrific barbecue and letting the kids run around with other kids about their ages. On Saturday, I got up early to drive to Princeton for a board meeting of the University Press Club (and found myself making several old fogey remarks to the current students — sigh). Then my husband and kids met me and we took in the extravaganza that is the “P-rade” — the annual procession of Princeton alums in wacky costumes. It’s not just people there for major class reunions. There was a spot for the class of 2001, celebrating our 13th reunion. The parade always starts with the class celebrating its 25th reunion (1989!) and then proceeds to the “Old Guard,” with the oldest alumni (or sometimes their widows) parading in golf carts. It is something. There was actually a reasonable contingent there from the class of 1939, celebrating their 75th reunion. The class of 1944, celebrating their 70th reunion, had World War II era Jeeps. Unfortunately, all the processing took a while, and my kids kind of lost it by the class of 1978. So we took off for my brother’s house and played with cousins for a while there.
On Sunday, the littlest two had swim lessons. My 4-year-old has turned into a regular fish. But this was not the biggest breakthrough for the weekend. My 2-year-old managed to get to the potty every single time she needed to go. She has made good on her word, as she agreed last Wednesday night when I changed her, that that was her last dirty diaper. We let her wear her new Cinderella underwear much of Sunday, and she was so proud of herself she wore just her Cinderella underwear for much of the evening.
In the afternoon, I took the boys strawberry picking, and my husband took our daughter fishing (she didn’t catch anything). I enjoyed the strawberry picking — complete with the little memento mori on the box — but the boys were not terribly enthusiastic after the first 10 minutes. I get it. The hay ride to the field was fun, but then you’re out in the hot sun, bending over, digging in the plants. Not only that, the price per pound was close to twice what it is in the supermarket or farmer’s market right now at peak season. You’re paying for entertainment, and your entertainment is experiencing life as a farm worker for about half an hour. No wonder “pick your own” farms made the list on that old satirical blog of Stuff White People Like.
Oh well. They grumbled until we got back on the hay wagon and drove home. Then we went for a swim, made strawberry shortcake (pictured) had a cookout, and planted some more flowers in the backyard. The berry season may be short, but this weekend didn’t feel all that short. We packed a lot in.
Do you do pick-your-own strawberries? (or some other produce?)