A farm in Indiana called Bryant’s Blueberries was the destination for our homeschooling group last week. I planned our Before Five In A Row book accordingly and the anticipation for the trip was built up extensively with our daily readings of Blueberries For Sal by Robert McCloskey (post coming soon).
The farm is a good 45 minutes away from where we live and we were meeting bright and early in the morning to try to beat some of the heat. This meant I had to be on my top game to get everyone dressed, diaper bag packed, and on the road before I am even used to being awake.
Well, let me get one thing straight on here- I am NOT a morning person. I’ve always been the night owl. My son takes after his dad and absolutely loves the morning, but me- no way. I wake up early because I have to do it, but Rocket knows perfectly well that it takes me a minute (or 30) to really “wake up”.
That said, I was determined to make this farm trip on time.
To fast forward a hectic, crazy morning with an absentminded, disheveled me and get right to the point, it didn’t happen. When we finally left the house, I knew we were going to be half an hour late and to be honest, I didn’t care at all. If we could find the rest of the group, great. If not, that would be fine too! We would still pick blueberries, talk about our book, and have a blast together regardless.
And that’s exactly what happened. We did see a couple members of our group briefly as we were leaving, but the actual experience of picking blueberries was just us. And it worked out beautifully just the same!
We really only needed one pail between the two of us, but Rocket insisted that we each carried our own because Little Sal and her mom had their own in the book.
At first, he picked every berry that he could reach. I told him to go for the blue ones only and that the green ones weren’t ready yet. After telling him this, I saw him sitting on his bucket quietly staring at the bush. I asked him what he was doing and he said, “I’m waiting for the green ones to be ready.”
He learned quickly how to identify the ripe blueberries. We did some taste testing to be sure!
By the end of the day, he was an expert at picking blueberries. He told his dad all about it before bed.
We picked 3 and a half pounds of pure deliciousness from these bushes!
As he put the blueberries in the bucket, he said, “Kuplink! Kuplank! Kuplunk!” This was the sound in the book of the blueberries hitting the bottom of the pail.
As Big Brother picked away at the rows of blueberries, someone else was enjoying this field trip in a different way.
In our 4 hours at the farm, I got the same comment from 2 different people- “You are a BRAVE woman,” they said while gesturing at Songbird. They were referring to the fact that I brought a 3 month old baby to a farm to pick blueberries with my toddler on a blistering hot day. But it really wasn’t as bad as it sounds! The bushes were actually quite tall and I laid her underneath them in the shade while we filled our buckets with berries. She was perfectly happy and protected from the sun!
Songbird LOVED basking in the blueberry bushes. Nature is one of her favorite things and she is always so content when given special time to enjoy the outdoors. Gardening together at home is one of her most cherished times of day!
Rocket wanted Songbird to be close to him at all times. As he combed through the bushes and moved down the rows, I scooted her right along with him.
Picking blueberries with his sister in sight. She watched what he was doing intently. He also might have accidentally dropped a couple of berries on her!
She grabbed some blueberry branches when they were within reach!
We picked blueberries in 2 different rows before calling it a day.
I was surprised by how large this operation was. I came expecting a small farm, but it was rows of blueberry bushes as far as my eyes could see.
And it was packed with blueberry pickers like ourselves!
This young blueberry picker also enjoyed the refreshing water provided at the main building. He used the water dispenser himself and filled up his cup several times- for himself, for me, and he even offered some to strangers!
This was our first experience at Bryant’s Blueberries and we will definitely be coming back.
On the way home, Rocket (who rarely naps anymore) fell asleep hard. After our early, busy morning filled with activity and a blazing sun, followed by a 45 minute drive home, he couldn’t keep those eyes open.
Next, I’ll be sharing what we did with all those blueberries. I can go ahead and say that it has been a yummy week!
Blueberry Tip: Blueberries should never be washed prior to freezing. It toughens their skin. Instead, they should be washed after being thawed and prior to use. (Thank you, random stranger at the farm who told me this!)