Tuesday, July 20, 2010

An Experience

We just got back from quite the morning. We drove about 45 minutes to a blueberry farm in South Jersey. At one point I thought I had mistakenly drove myself right into Fort Dix Army base. There was razor wire everywhere, soldiers in fatigues with big guns, but it turns out the road goes through part of the base and back out. When we arrived at the blueberry farm it was quite a site. The sign said closed but the owner had told me over the phone that 'we open before you even wake up!' (8:00am...ha, ha! I have kids. We're on to second breakfast by then...) It was a ramshackle affair, with several old trucks, tractors and an air-stream trailer. There was a radio playing somewhere among abandoned automobile carcasses, and an ancient metal water cooler sitting in the shade near a notebook. There was a really old red truck, with a sign stating that blueberries were $1.25 a pound, that a coffee can full weighs 4 pounds, and please don't waste!!! Also, it said to visit the 'webb site.'

Now, when I spoke with the farmer via phone, he referred to it as his 'patch'. I think 'empire' or 'dynasty' would be better terms. There were fields all around, and even across the highway. As I was trying to get my bearings, another car pulled up with a random assortment of individuals speaking a language I never could figure out. They, apparently, had been there before. As I was talking to them, up pulls Fred himself on his tractor. I would guess he is pushing 80. He is quite a character. The other people must be regulars because he said something like 'oh, its you again.' Everyone began to take these rusty coffee can contraptions off the truck and tie them around their waists. The older lady asked Fred to tie hers on. Apparently she is looking for a little Fred love, although Fred is a married man. He gave her a hard time about it and asked her where her husband was. She said he was 'gone.' She asked him to tie three buckets to her (in her heavy accent) which clearly she didn't need. Apparently she always asks Fred (not her companions) to tie her buckets on. All the while he is heckling her about it. Then he turns to us and fires off numerous questions: What are you going to do with those babies? Are you going to take them with you? How are you going to pick anything? They may be better pickers than you. Why are you dressed for the beach? This is a FARM! A FARM! You are dressed for the beach. Look at you! What about the baby? Oh, I can't tell you what to do, now can I? Do you have sunblock? Where is your hat? You're dressed for the beach, not the farm! It was quite amusing. He then turned to the other group and told them to 'take care of the babies. Help her with the babies. Oh, you're gonna have to walk. You help them walk. Its a long way.' So, off we went, the foreign people and I, schlepping my kids with numerous rusty coffee cans tied to our wastes with ancient ropes. Fred yelled after us, 'Does someone have a cell phone? A cell phone?????' The people alternated between talking to us in English and amongst themselves in the mysterious foreign language. For the record one of the ladies names was Carmela, and they called her Carmelita too. After about 45 minutes of 90 degree heat, my kids were done being patient and I had managed to pick 2.5 coffee cans full. (for the record, the foreign people were so busy chatting it up that I picked more than they did, by myself. ha!) I headed back with three very filthy children hanging off me, and three cans of blueberries tied around my waist. We passed Carmelita and she helped me on the way back. When I set Tyler down to dismantle my blueberry carrying apparatus, she picked him right up and cooed over him. Strangers picking up my kids usually is not my thing. But she seemed nice. Anyway, out comes Fred from the middle of nowhere. He immediately takes my blueberries and puts them in the shade so they don't get hot while I am paying. He charged me $8.75 for the whole kaboodle. I was pretty happy with that. After packing my filthy kids up we headed off to the CSA farm to pick up our share. They used the time I was picking green beans to accessorize with another generous layer of mud. Now we're home, somewhat cleaner, with the air-conditioning cranked up. I've had enough excitement for one day, thank-you-very-much!

1 comment:

DayPhoto said...

Ill be the kids just loved EVERY minute. And you will enjoy the food for some time to come.