Thursday, June 25, 2009

PYO Farms

Pick your own is a very interesting idea and I feel that it can only exist in cultures who no longer have a large base of agriculture. It is a way for many people to give themselves or their children of a sense of what it might be like to be on a farm. If farming was only picking and eating. However, I cann't begrudge this idea at all. For one it is a great way for family farms to keep going and to capitalize on a type of industry that Americans do so well; Tourism. I have been to farms that are more amusement park than actual farm. A second reason is that honestly this could be the closest some of these families ever get to the source where their food comes from. If nothing else they will know what a strawberry plant looks like and how to tell when they are ripe enough to pick. Lastly I participate in this phenomenon as well. Buying strawberries by the quart can become expensive from the farmers market($5 a quart), but PYO is less than half the price of the farmers market strawberries.

So it was with this last idea in mind that Naomi, myself, and two of our good friends went to McCann Berry Farm in Woodstock, IL to purchase some strawberries at a discounted price and to help support a local family farm. The McCann Berry Farm was well run and they even had people in the field to help direct you to a row that had not yet been picked. So one doesn't waste their time going up and down rows or sections that have already been picked over. I also found a bit of camaraderie with the other people who were picking. Some helped direct others to where the berries were bigger or more plentiful. By the end of the hour we had 5 buckets of strawberries or 20 quarts. Our Friends Kelly and Kathy collected some peas and also helped us to fill one of our buckets. And we did all of this for just a little over $40 and some time in the car driving through the beautiful back roads of McHenry County.

As for what did we need 20 quarts of strawberries for. Stay tuned to find out.

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