Saturday, June 22, 2013

getting the blues

Yesterday was my annual trip with Secondo and Terzo to the wilds of the South Jersey Pine Barrens. Well, not truly the wilds. More like the blueberry flats. Wilds of the Pine Barrens do still exist, but we weren't quite that far in. (If you are interested in what, exactly, are the Pine Barrens, check out the book of the same name by John McPhee.)

We were picking up a record (for us) 28 flats: 10 for us, and 18 for friends. We had to wait a bit for our pallet to be loaded but we never mind. We could watch the simple packaging line all day long. I guess we are amused by simple things.

Berries in, washed, picked, boxed, labelled, stacked, stored.

It is straight out of a Mr. Rogers tape. Movie? Video? Just exactly what did Mr Rogers show us anyway? Probably depended on the decade. Whatever they were, they were always my favorite part of the show.

We make the trip down because, in additon to the price break, it can be tough to find Jersey berries in our local stores. Our Shoprite is still selling berries from NC when beautiful, plump, delicious NJ berries are being picked only an hour away. We found part of the answer at the grower: three trucks full of Jersey berries, headed straight for Minnesota, or at least that's where the trucks were registered.

Why not? As the most prolific blueberry-growing state, I suppose it's only fair if we share the bounty with the rest of the country. But it would still be nice if I could find them in my local store, though I doubt I would stop running my own little shipping line to the Pine Barrens. It's too much of a tradition now to quit.

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