A few weeks ago, I went blueberry picking with my preschoolers. We had to find some organic, fresh blueberries for Zac’s planned blueberry trial, and since I couldn’t find organic blueberries last year at the Farmer’s Market, pick your own seemed the solution!
Honestly, I wasn’t sure how it would go. Not only have I never actually picked blueberries before, but how would my 3 and 4 year old boys react?
Better than I would have thought!
Jed turned out to be an excellent blueberry picker. The first time we went, he easily picked a half gallon in the time I picked a full gallon.
Then he made friends with a very sweet lady named Hannah, who kindly topped off his bucket for him!
Even better, Hannah is a nanny. A nanny whose current charge has severe peanut allergies. A nanny whose degree is in public health.
She volunteered her phone number in case we ever need babysitting.
I’m not sure I’m ready for that, but it’s nice to have a backup that may have a clue!
Zac, on the other hand, started off strong but quit picking completely after about ten minutes. Then he whined. He was hungry. He was thirsty. He was bored.
Still, between Jed, Hannah and me we managed a full 2 gallons of blueberries in about an hour for the low low price of $14 a gallon!
The next time we went, Jed started off strong again. He quickly started to try and find a new friend to talk with while he picked, though, which seriously diminished his picking ability. There weren’t many people there that day since it looked like it might rain.
Finally he found two little boys who were helping their parents gather berries for the local CSA they operate. The boys weren’t nearly as friendly as Hannah, but they weren’t mean. Jed enjoyed chatting with them, though, by eavesdropping, I learned exactly where Jed needs some clarifying on his social skills!
Zac didn’t even try to pick that time. He just started whining from the start.
Then he took off his shoes and left them…somewhere.
Then it started drizzling.
That ended any picking on Jed’s part, too.
Since we were already wet, and my 3rd gallon was almost full, I just started picking faster to try and finish as soon as possible.
When I was done and we headed up front, we couldn’t find Zac’s shoes anywhere!
The boys looked. I looked. No shoes.
Finally I just took them up to the sheltered stand where we pay and told them to wait there. I grabbed the umbrella from the car, wiped my glasses free from water, and headed back to look by myself.
Suddenly, Zac said he remembered where his shoes were. So I picked him up and carried him with me.
After 20 minutes of hunting for shoes in the rain before giving up, the little stinker took me RIGHT to his shoes when we went back to look the second time. Grr.
That visit netted us 3 gallons of berries.
The 3rd time we picked berries, it was Jed’s actual birthday. The sun was shining and I remembered to offer an incentive to the boys for berry picking. Every pint they picked earned them an extra red chip!
It didn’t work.
I think they picked a whole pint between themselves.
Jed, as usual, went off to make friends. Zac just hung around me and whined, until I gave him my phone to play with.
After the shoe incident, I made sure the ringer was turned on and that he moved with me every time I hit up a new bush!
Jed quickly found some little girls and tried to make friends, but they weren’t nearly as friendly as the other folks he’d chatted with. I actually heard this little 7 year old girl incredulously ask Jed “Haven’t you ever heard of stranger danger before?”
The whole concept of stranger danger goes against everything I believe in as a human and a mother, so, much to her parents dismay, and just as Jed cheerfully responded “No.” I shouted out “I don’t teach my kids that concept. It’s a dangerous thing to believe.”
Then I called Jed over to me and encouraged him to find other people to chat with.
He couldn’t. So he and Zac went up to the ladies who run the berry patch and chatted with them while I finished picking. Fortunately, they thought the boys were cute and funny and were entertained by the visit.
Jed’s birthday brought us 2 more gallons for the stockpile.
I plan to go back for at least another 2 gallons, though, because while I was absent from the blog the last two weeks we did a full blueberry trial for Zac.
Blueberries are safe! Hello, food #16!!
Honestly, he’s not a huge fan. That’s not too surprising, since he has no safe sweetener to aid in blueberry taste.
But mix those blueberries in with some banana ice cream, and the kiddo goes nuts!!
Zac LOVES blueberry-banana ice cream!
Thank God for bananas!
Once we have a sweetener, I’m sure he’ll be a lot more receptive to blueberries. I’ll be able to make syrup for his pancakes, and his muffins will be a lot more palatable with some sweetener to go with the sometimes tart or bitter blueberries. Having a few more gallons of berries around seems wise, since this year all of us will be eating these berries and it’s apparently really difficult to find corn-free blueberries out of season!
I, for one, LOVE blueberry muffins! Jed can’t get enough blueberries, either. He eats them frozen all the time. We need plenty of blueberries to last us until next June.
Next up to trial? Probably olive oil. Darrel is on a quest to streamline our cooking procedures at the house. He’d like us to all be able to eat olive oil, black pepper, and potatos, since so much of his, Jed’s, and my diets depend on those three things.
I agree with him about the black pepper and olive oil. I even agree about potatos…I’m just not ready to do that trial yet. I’m not prepared to “lose” potatos if they prove unsafe for Zac.
As fast as he’s weaning, though, by the time we get through an olive oil and black pepper trial I’ll probably be willing to chance potatos. If they prove unsafe for Zac, well, at that point I would just wean him – if he hasn’t done so all by himself!
Once (if?) olive oil is safe, cooking will be HEAPS easier in our house. So pray for a safe olive oil trial for Zac, please? We’re starting that tomorrow!
Have you ever gone blueberry picking (or any kind of berry picking) with your preschoolers? How did it go?