Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine. A police officer, working in the small town that he lives in, focusing on family and shooting and coffee, and occasionally putting some people in jail.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

You want family-oriented?

I gotcha family-oriented, right here.

This morning, my wife and my girls and I got up kind of early for a Saturday.
We drove up I-35 to Gainesville, TX, and headed east on Hwy 82 for 26 miles, before heading north on Hwy 91 for six miles to Crawford Rd, and took a left. A coupla hundred yards later, we were at the Bailey Berry Patch.

These people are frickin' brilliant. They found a nice sandy piece of acreage that has decent drainage, and put in wide-spread rows of blueberries and three acres of blackberries. In Texas, while blackberries thrive, blueberries are kind of rare. These people use drip irrigation, and pump from the large stocktank that they have at the bottom of the hill. They plant six acres with several different varieties of blueberries, and they come in at slightly different rates. Because the season is June through mid-July, the day gets kind of hot by mid-afternoon, so they deal with that, too-- they shut down at 2:00PM. They're closed on Monday and Friday.

Here's the brilliant part-- they don't pick 'em. You do. You have to get up early, and drive out to the countryside, and then you do the picking, bring up your bucket... and pay them for the privilege.

Do people really do this?

Only several hundred a day.

$11.00 a gallon gets you a bucket that's wayyyy more then a gallon. They give the kids little painted pails to help out, too. With low-mown grass and wide-spread rows of chest-high berry bushes, you just let the kids run wild. When they get bored, let 'em ride down with one of the nice ladies in a golf cart to the stock tank, where they can feed the enormous catfish down there.

When you bring the pails of berries up, they take 'em from you and clean the berries, running them over a small conveyor belt with a blower and the owners' grandchildren posted to pick put the unripe or bad berries or detritis that got into your bucket. Then they bag and label your harvest for your drive home. They'll also sell you a glass of blueberry lemonade for a buck, though they've got big coolers of water spread around, and even have (clean!) restrooms.

They've got a little vegeteble stand, and have homemade preserves for sale, too.

This place is kind of idyllic.

The people are nice.

The place is nice.

The produce is nice.

The experience of letting your kids run around picking berries and coming back with purple faces and full buckets is nice.

Having blueberries all year long (we just freeze them whole in ziplock bags) that we picked is nice.

We spent $22.00, plus another $5 for a couple of hamburgers and some lemonade to support the Sadler VFD today.

We had a great time.

Just thought I'd let y'all know, next time you're in the area.

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At Saturday, July 07, 2007 6:30:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I lived in Virginia we used to take the kids berry picking, and there is no better way to spend an afternoon with the family. They are all grown now and I hope they take their kids on family jaunts...the memories are irreplaceable

At Saturday, July 07, 2007 8:30:00 PM, Blogger Tam said...

What a neat way to spend a day!

At Saturday, July 07, 2007 9:24:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

By the way--

That stoneware horse on the workbench on my back porch? My wife made that.

Oh, and the workbench? She made that, too. (Stout as hell, with locking wheels and 4X4 uprights.)

At Monday, July 09, 2007 7:02:00 AM, Blogger Tam said...

Handy, creative people who can actually make things intimidate the hell out of me.

From construction paper in kindergarten art class to cupcakes in middle school home ec to a cutting board in wood shop, twelve years of schooling taught little Tammy Ten-thumbs that she had better be able to find a way of making a living that did not involve having to actually create anything.

At Monday, July 09, 2007 8:33:00 AM, Blogger phlegmfatale said...

Wow - thanks so much for the link - I'll have to take niece and nephew there - sounds like a hoot!

At Monday, July 09, 2007 1:52:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

Better hurry, Phlemmy-- the blueberry season's drawing toward it's close, this year. You have about a week.

At Tuesday, July 10, 2007 8:01:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

One other benefit is that they don't weigh the ankle biters before and after picking. My 2 ate 5 berries for each 1 that made it into the bucket.

At Tuesday, July 10, 2007 2:54:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1 Gallon of blueberries(from the same place) makes entirely too much blueberry jam for me to eat in a year. It also took me 5 hours to process it all.

But, it's very very good.

At Tuesday, July 17, 2007 12:20:00 PM, Blogger J.R.Shirley said...


I'm like Tam. I'm great at *breaking* things, though...


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