Monday, August 4, 2008

Of Books and Blueberries

We just returned from a perfectly relaxing week of vacation in Maine. We sailed our little boat, caught (and released) fish and frogs, swam, read lots of books, and generally loafed around. As you can see from the photos, we went blueberry picking as well. One thing that concerns me about my children's lives is how far removed they are from the production of the foods they eat. Most of their food experiences would lead them to believe that it just shows up at the grocery store, wrapped in plastic. So my husband and I have had a little vegetable garden in the backyard and we take them apple and pumpkin picking each fall, but I think the best thing we've done is to incorporate learning about local agriculture into our family vacations. For example, we have had the great good fortune to tag along with my father-in-law as he tends his oysters and clams on Cape Cod. We spent one of the best afternoons ever working on board The Lucky Catch lobster boat in Portland, Maine two summers ago, and this year we spent a few hours on a hill in Maine picking low bush wild blueberries. The hill looked just like Blueberry Hill in one of the most perfect picture books ever written, Robert McCloskey's Blueberries for Sal. After we picked our pound of berries, and, like Sal, ate a good many more, we went home and baked them in coffee cake, sprinkled them on vanilla ice cream, and read Blueberries for Sal. We went on to read McCloskey's Make Way for Ducklings as well. What could be better? By the way, the blueberries are full of antioxidants and only cost one dollar for the pound! Get out there and support local agriculture wherever you find yourself.

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