One of my all-time favorite pictures of my younger daughter is from when she was about two years old, picking strawberries at a pick-your-own-berries farm. Unlike Sal, she was quite intent on filling up her strawberry carton and didn’t nip a single berry for her own. Her face is so serious as she looks into the camera for just a moment, clearly taking her job to be of the highest order.
A few years back, as I was harvesting my own blueberries in the back yard, I suddenly took note of what incredible fine motor skills the job required. What a great endeavor to embark upon with little children, then! Fine motor skills take years to develop, and they are needed not only for ordinary life but also for academics; picking berries is surely a delicious way to create reading, math, and writing readiness. For adults, it’s a great way to continue to activate key brain centers. A win-win for everyone involved.
Add to this the fact that people who garden and harvest tend to eat more fruits and veggies overall (see the excellent chapter on the Bronx urban gardens in Farmacology), and you might just be ready to plant your own blueberry bushes or hop on over to the nearest pick-your-own berries farm when the world reopens.
Have you ever harvested fruits or vegetables? What was the experience like for you? If you’ve never harvested, what has stood in the way? Could you manage to find a way to get this experience? Write a poem about harvesting a fruit or vegetable, or wanting to find a way to get this experience. Will you be like Sal and eat all your berries or veggies before they fill your pail? Or will you be like my little daughter and fill your carton to overflowing?
In the back yard where I planted
four beautiful blueberry bushes,
I plunk barely-blushing berries
into my silver bowl.
The birds don’t understand:
what would a woman want with berries,
mostly green, and firm?
I count on their puzzlement.
They count on me sleeping in late
after a warm night turns
a clutch of berries