Ari adores strawberries. Both of my kids do, but Ari is OBSESSED with them. He wants to eat strawberries daily as part of his lunch. (He’d probably eat them as a snack if I’d let him, but I try to get other fruits into him at those times of the day.) He grows strawberries in his backyard garden. So, when strawberry season arrives in Central Pennsylvania, Ari is ALL IN.
This morning, Marc, my-in-laws, the kids, and I drove about 45 minutes north of our home to an orchard that advertised their “best crop of the past 5-10 years.” That was enough to make the drive worthwhile… so long as it was true.
After we washed our hands and purchased a 5 qt. bucket for the four of us, the kids began arguing over who was going to hold the bucket. 🙄 Somehow, I convinced Isabelle to let Ari hold it since it would eventually be too heavy for him to manage. She relinquished and allowed Ari to hold it.
Once we were assigned a row, Ari got down to the serious business of the day. If you think that was picking berries and putting them in the bucket he was holding, well, then you’d be wrong. No, no. He got down to eating berries! As we attempted to fill our bucket, we realized we’d have to take it away from Ari or we’d never fill it up with enough berries to bring home. Somehow, we wrestled the bucket away from Ari and handed it over to Isabelle who has samples far less than she did as a young tyke.
For awhile, Ari picked a berry, removed the crown, and shoved it in his mouth. This kept up for awhile until he must’ve gotten tired. Eventually, we overheard Linda, my mother-in-law, ask Ari to stop removing the good ones from her container. (Apparently, he didn’t want to be troubled with picking the berries so he tried to skim them off the top of her container!) Once Ari realized that wouldn’t work, he tried sticking his hand into the five-quart bucket again, but kept getting caught by Marc, Isabelle, or me. Ultimately, Ari picked most of his own berries, which showed since his hands and face were stained with sticky, red juice.
We love PYO season, more so now that our options still feel limited due to the pandemic. And while I wish Ari would do more picking-to-take-home and less eating-in-the-fields, there is something so endearing about watching the joy he gets from eating berries on summer mornings. Plus, he looks adorable with his lips and fingernails ringed in red!