Sunday, 29 July 2007

Pick Your Own

On Friday, I went to pick my own fruit (and veg) with my good friend Amanda. We were both very excited for the experience - we live in London and couldn't believe there was somewhere within easy train distance where we could pick (and eat) our fill of fresh goods. We were even happier to be able to go with each other, since we both knew neither of our partners would have been ratcheted up to the same levels of excitement as each other was.

We went to Parkside Farms in Enfield which is easy reach from a couple of train stations, especially if you have bikes with you as we did.
It was a lovely, bright summery day and riding our bikes through the (semi-) country lanes made us feel like we were kids on our summer holidays. Our main goal was to get raspberries, and I was happy to gather any other vegetables available. The farm was impressively large, and though there were a fair number of families out we never felt like we were knocking into people and competing for food.

That said, I'm an inherently competitive person and when I was placed in front of the object of my desire (i.e, raspberries) something within me clicked on and I began picking for all I was worth. I felt it was like the soft-fruit equivalent of a fantastic sale at your favorite store: I began grasping everything within my site and felt it very important that I get to the fruit before anyone else could. And yet that sensation brought me great joy, as did the picking itself. The raspberries were so ripe that the slightest caress made them come off in your hand, and I felt proud and protective of them as I gently gathered handfuls before depositing them in my basket.

We spent about an hour picking raspberries (around 1 1/4 kilos each) before moving on to the vegetables. The vegetable picking was less popular than the fruit, but since I was there to gain food for my table (and freezer) popularity didn't matter to me. I was able to fill a large bag of string beans as well as a half dozen courgettes, a bag full of spinach, and a bag full of onions. Scattered around the vegetable fields were raspberry casualties where eager pickers had a slip and lost their hard-picked bounty under their feet.
Both of us had a wonderful day out, being in the country and gathering our own food and cycling down hilly lanes in the breeze. It would be great if Mr. A&N ever decided to join me in a picking session, but I've at least found an enthusiastic picking partner in Amanda.


Su-Lin said...

How brilliant! I was meant to go yesterday but plans fell through. Now I'm really excited to go!

umami said...

Sounds like a lot of fun. I went fruit picking before but it was late in the season so there were only plums but the day out was most enjoyable and memorable even after more than 10 years.

Helen said...

Thank you thank you thank you! I can't believe there is something like this available to us Londoners! I am going here as soon as possible.