Happy chatter. The fields were abuzz with it as people cheerfully talked while picking blueberries at Blackbirds and Blueberries in Cloquet.
What made them so happy? It could have been the sweet anticipation of fresh blueberry pie, muffins, jam or whatever tasty plan they had for their bounty.
Or, it could have been the knowledge that they were feeding their bodies a chemical-free superfood packed with antioxidants and phytoflavinoids.
Or, most likely, it was simply that people felt welcome.
After we walked up the winding drive to the fields, Lori, the owner, greeted us with a warm smile and friendly welcome. She gave instructions and then retrieved 4 buckets, 2 big, 2 small. As she handed them out, she said to each of the kids, “And of course you’ll want a big one.” It delighted them to be treated like seasoned berry pickers.
And she said taste-testing was not only allowed but encouraged. So you didn’t feel like you had to guiltily wipe the inevitable berry juice off your chin.
It was our first time picking blueberries together. Tim and Finley turned out to be our power pickers. They steadily worked the row looking for “blueberry pumpkins,” the term Finley coined for the big ones.
Daley and I, however, petered out under the intense sun of high noon and headed for the shade of the large pine trees along the edge of the field.
A Sweet Good-Bye
Leaving the farm was just as pleasant as our arrival. When we went to pay, Lori’s daughter engaged the kids in a fun guessing game as to how many pounds of berries we picked. Meanwhile, I contemplated the cute inspirational sign that read, “Keep Calm and Eat Blueberries.”
Finally, to aid costumers back to their cars with flats full of berries, they offered rides in the “berry mobile,” the term Tim (proudly) coined for the utility vehicle. This farm-style shuttle with the friendly driver was a major highlight for the kids.
Have you visited Blackbirds and Blueberries? Share your experiences in the comment box below. Thanks!