Fruits of a New Experience

Fruits of a New Experience

I had a chance this summer to do something that I had assiduously worked hard to avoid for more than 50 years – blueberry picking.

But when visitingVermont, close friends of ours just gushed at their recent weekend excursion to a huge “pick-your-own” blueberry patch.

I thought to myself, as I had when I was a kid and my mom would mention her great memories of strawberry or blueberry picking or my wife for years asking me if I was interested in going around the corner to the farm to do likewise, “why?”

Blueberries on a bush in a field in Charlotte, Vt., in July 2012. (Photos by Mark Lombard)

The closest I would get to doing that was going to the grocery store or farmers’ market and picking the quart or pint container of blueberries from the shelf. Why look to do the extra work of picking when a quick trip to the fruit and vegetable stand or aisle would yield the same result, with a bit more expense and a lot of time saved. And besides, wouldn’t we be taking jobs away from local pickers or even those workers who migrate at the beginning of the summer to the northern U.S. and continue down south as the weather cooled and the picking in one area was completed, I asked, trying to play the social-justice card?

Don’t get me wrong. I love blueberries, which forms the core of my breakfast with plain yogurt (no need of sweetener). Blueberries are noted as a healthy addition to one’s diet, adding significant levels of manganese, vitamins B6, C and K. They have also been linked to reducing the risks of diseases such as cancer, and working to improve the body’s blood pressure regulation, blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, and improved memory and learning in older adults.

Terry Reynolds of Colchester, Vt., picks blueberries at Pelkey’s Farm in Charlotte, Vt.

But caught with my life partner of 30 years, my wife, and this other nature-loving couple all onboard, I agreed with a cheery “oh, that sounds great” reply, which hopefully masked my total lack of enthusiasm and concerns about it being too hot standing in the sun, too boring and just too much work on a Saturday for too little reward.

Well, you likely know where this is going. It was a great experience. My wife and I picked about 10 pounds of blueberry each in a matter of over an hour – I actually lost track of time. We all shared stories and experiences we had never heard from one another before. We met other people who were locals and others who were vacationers. But most of all we had an opportunity to share the experience of seeing first hand the fruits of this God-centered universe and, on that day, the bounty we receive each day.

We actually talked to one another about spirituality and the belief in a being – God – that could make this miracle of life, growth, abundance so present on this brilliant day in a field. We also ate the tastiest blueberries by the handful (and then confessed to those weighing our harvest, who simply waved it off with a “You’re not alone. Everybody eats as they work.”).   

I’m actually looking forward to the next time I can go picking. My only question is so why was I so resistant in the first place.  

Other places to go picking is our Franciscan Media online catalog, where you’ll find booklets in the Live Simply series, Ethical Eating and Wholly Healthy, which point to small steps we can take toward a lifestyle not defined by consumption but that reflect our moral values and create pathways to holistic health. 

Make sure you also see our new digital magazine, Liberty + Vine, which focuses on the intersection of faith and life and provides help along our personal spiritual path.


About the Author

Mark Lombard, director of the product development division, has worked throughout his career in Catholic publishing. He is married, a father of two and a grandfather of two. Mark is an avid jazz lover, traveling with his wife to catch jazz performances throughout the East Coast.