When I was growing up, I didn’t pick blueberries. Sometimes I picked green beans with my cousins on their farm near Alto in August. We sat in the dirt, picked and talked until my Aunt Margie called us in for lunch. Happy and hungry, we’d walk through the rows of the fields carrying baskets filled with green beans, together.
Blueberries are such small fruit, but they can make a big impact. I learned from a Grand Haven Tribune article earlier this summer that 100 million pounds of blueberries were forecast in Michigan this growing season.
We are driving though the green canopy of trees down M-104 past Blueberry Hill on a July day. My son Connor turns to me and says, “Mom, you quit your job, and I’ll quit school, and we’ll pick blueberries.” He was about 5 years old.
His fascination with blueberry picking eventually passed, but his words and that day stick with me. He just wanted to spend time together and pick blueberries.
This summer on a slightly cooler July day that threatened rain, I picked blueberries with my dad. I was wearing my standard summer-wear — a faded Madras sundress and had my hair up in a ponytail.
Once I filled my bucket, I walked a few rows over and helped my dad finish filling his two buckets. It’s always surprising to see how much faster and more fun it is to pick together.
The ground was a little damp from rain earlier in the morning, but the field was full of parents, kids and grandparents filling buckets until they almost overflowed. From my observation, there was plenty of taste testing going on, as well.
Nearby, a brother and a sister, who were about 6 years old, shared a bucket. They chattered away about working as a team and helped each other find the best berries. I thought I was on another planet. They didn’t tweet about each other. They didn’t argue about who was picking the most.
They simply enjoyed the moment and picked blueberries.
About the writer: Carrie Brown is a freelance communications professional and writer who lives in Spring Lake. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan, where she won the Avery Hopwood Award for Poetry. She also enjoys making blueberry crisp and blueberry pancakes.