Their fingers (and clothes) are stained with strawberries, after an amazing morning of strawberry picking at Mercier Orchards in Blue Ridge, GA. We had a great time last Saturday, playing in their strawberry fields.
Mercier is a family-run business in the North Georgia mountains, with a wide variety of fruits that are grown as naturally as possible (our guide told me they only spray calcium and water on the fruit to keep pests away, and called it “pretty close to organic”). We have picked cherries at Mercier in the past, and have picked wild blueberries and blackberries elsewhere, but this was our first experience picking strawberries.
The girls got a kick out of paying for their baskets at the country store, and riding the hay truck through the orchards full of apple trees, cherry trees, and blueberry bushes, until we got to the strawberry field. When they climbed off the truck, got down on their knees, reached for, and bit into their first strawberry…warm, juicy, and fresh off the vine…their big bright eyes got a little brighter, and a smile grew across their face. And I knew, in my heart, that, for the rest of their life, they would always remember the taste of warm strawberries in the North Georgia mountains. We were making memories.
The strawberries were delicious, but I what I loved most was getting down in the dirt to find our treasures. Being close to the earth is good for the soul. The best strawberries were usually buried under the biggest, brightest green leaves, which added an element of surprise, and joy, to the experience.
“Look at this one, Mom, it’s huge!”
“What about this one, it’s even bigger!”
I’m pretty sure we ate more berries than we took home, and we definitely had a great adventure together as a family. We also gained a new appreciation for one of our favorite crazy healthy foods. We talked with the farmers who tend to the fields, and learned how strawberries get from the farm to our table. It’s one thing to talk about “eating from the earth”, but actually meeting the people who grow our food, pulling their berries from the vine, and savoring the sweetness in the field, reminded us all how blessed we are to live this crazy healthy life.
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