by Nicole Patience MS, RD, LDN, CDE,CEDRD
Summer in New England invites us to connect more fully with the local food movement. A farm visit is a great opportunity to practice mindfulness — to slow down, take a pause from the daily to-do-list, and stop to smell the roses (and wild flowers). Moreover, you can have an even closer connection to your food by taking part in the farm’s harvest with a pick-your-own experience.
Wright-Locke Farm in Winchester, MA offers pick-your-own raspberries August through October. These sweet red morsels are the rubies of the field. Plentifully adorning the canes, they are a true gem of summer. By walking down the rows of berries and taking in the picturesque farm, you can deeply appreciate the bounty of the land. How generous the plants are with their offerings! The raspberry bramble reaches out into the path, literally offering visitors a sample to taste.
While raspberries are great to enjoy straight from the field, they don’t last long in the fridge. To remember the sweet experience from the farm, you can opt to bottle-up summer. Consider using your extra berries to make no-cook raspberry freezer jam. Enjoy this as a topping on toast, pancakes, yogurt, oatmeal and ice cream. Here are two delicious recipe versions for no-cook freezer jam.
As with most farms, animals also are part of the farm visit experience. While picking raspberries, Wright-Locke Farm encourages visitors to carry two containers, one for your plump whole berries and one to collect broken or overripe berries to feed the chickens. Chickens love these raspberries. Witness unbridled enthusiasm displayed by the squawks of joy and rush of excitement as you share your raspberry harvest. For additional fun, even if you are not picking berries, you can bring your own organic vegetable scraps to share with the animals.
Wright-Locke Farm sells pasture raised eggs from by these raspberry-loving chickens. If you chose to bring eggs home, they can serve as another way to extend the experience of your farm visit home to your kitchen. Consider how you will cook this farm-fresh egg. The marvelous possibilities abound – frittata, omelet, custard, sunny-side-up, quiche, or scrambled. When you first open the egg carton, notice the color and shape. Hold the egg and feel it’s presence in your hand. People all around the world rely on this precious protein source. Prepare your pan or bowl, and gently crack the egg while noticing the thickness of the shell that was protecting the egg. As you pour out the contents, note the vibrant color of the yolk, rich with nutrients. As you enjoy your meal, remember the farm, the time you spent in the fields, your shoes in the soil, the breeze in your hair, and think about how it leaves you feeling. Are you satisfied? Do you want more?
To find more pick-your-own opportunities near you, check out www.pickyourown.org For directions and information on Wright-Locke Farm, check out www.WLF.com