outdoors · slice of life


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!

Head over to Two Writing Teachers for more slice of life stories.

20 thoughts on “PYO 🍓

    1. We’ve gone three times in the past week. During our second pick, I had to outlaw the picking out of the baskets since Isabelle and I couldn’t pick them fast enough to keep up with him. (He ate so many that I paid for an extra quart!)

  1. Your detailed story took me back to years ago when we took our glirls strawberry picking! I remembered that time when buying strawberries on Sunday at the Farmers Market and now again today reading your great story. I just may need to plan my own POY trip! field strawberries are SO sweet and juicy! No wonder he couldn’t stop eating! Thnaks for sharing.

  2. Your story reminded me of when we lived in Poland and would go to a blueberry farm to pick and I maintained that they should have weighed us on the way in and out to get a fair price! I loved reading how tricky Ari was- getting the best of all of his options!

    1. Ha! I paid for an extra quart last week since he was out of control when we went on Friday! The workers thought I was nuts. I guess they expect the kids to munch. (He chowed!)

  3. PYO . . . as an opportunity, not as a “have to chore”, every other day in a backyard patch that seems to grow every week. So fun to consider other views and see whether they align with memories!

  4. Picking strawberries is one of our favourite things to do too! We’ll be able to in maybe 3 weeks. We always take home as many in our bellies as in our bucket!

  5. I am with Ari’s mindset on this. I understand that it is valuable to pick the berries for later but I’d love to eat strawberries at the strawberry field until I am completely full.

    1. I took him and Iz again today. He sat himself down in the field and started to eat. The folks we were with saw and the other mom laughed. It was pretty amusing!

  6. I enjoyed this beautiful snippet from your life. Sounds like a lovely family day to me and your words made it easy to envision.

  7. What wonderful memories your post conjures! Picking strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, etc. It takes too much willpower to get them into the bucket! Your post makes me smile. Thank you!

  8. Strawberries for Ari instead of Blueberries for Sal (although good that there was no bear involved). This is such a great slice of life – welcome summer (almost).

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