FOR PAGANS AND ASTRONOMERS, summer begins on the solstice. For us fruit farmers, it starts on the Fourth of July.
That’s when the strawberries pull up stakes and head for the ferry, trumpeting the end of spring’s labor and the dawn of lazier days.
Sweet cherries always give the strawberries a lift down to the boatdocks. They bid “fair winds and following seas” to dear old friends.
When the Pepper Fitzgerald shoves off, you hear an exuberant rendition of “Anchors Aweigh.” There are no dry eyes on land or sea.
The green peppers were never known for their boatbuilding; this vessel sits a little low in the water. But the Pepper Fitz is stalwart and seaworthy.
No one knows where the strawberries go. Some folks have guessed the verdant highlands of Strawbistan; others surmise snowy Strawbania.
We are sad to see them leave—but the raspberries aren’t. Before the Pepper is out of earshot, they blast “Raspberry Beret” and launch their own party barge.
It is their time to shine after a long spring of hearing, “When are the strawberries ready?” “The strawberries are so good, Mommy!” And a lot more besides.
Independence Day means freedom from the incidental tyranny of the “in” crowd. Once Dad hooks his first trophy bass, everyone can giggle at ease.
The youngsters know not to swim past the buoy, but the chance to steal a first kiss draws these two teens into risky business.
It is worth knowing that raspberries are marvelous swimmers. We try to make each Crop Alert educational, and there’s your fact of the week.
They can freedive for 22 minutes at a time. The Sunny Goldens, in particular, have an otherwordly quality, an aquatic insouciance as they gambol undersea.
You can see their evolutionary cousins, the Jamfish and Jellyfish, in their luminous, effortless pulsations.
Meanwhile the blueberries sit on the shore. They are a more serious lot. Too much revelry undermines their equipoise. A quiet dip at dusk will do.
AND NOW FOR THE ACTUAL CROP ALERT.
If you’ve read this far, you deserve a Crop Alert in plain English. Strawberries—done. Raspberries—picking. Cherries and blueberries—at the stand.
Aside from raspberries, the picking scene will be quiet for a few weeks. These sweet cherries are prepicked and prepacked for you at the farmstand.
Same deal with the yellow sweet cherries. Juicy little sunbursts.
Blueberries are prepicked and prepacked for you, too. They are full of anti-oxidants. No, not anti-occidents! They do not oppose the West.
HAPPY BERRYTHDAY, AMERICA.
Finally, let’s take a look at how people around here celebrated America’s 236th. Our neighbors picked a last haul of strawberries and got chopping.
What could be more American than a melting pot? A kettle of strawberries just bubbling away.
More American than that, of course, is the sugar! But we’re not supersizing, just a dollop to help the jelly gel.
“Put up or shut up,” as Grandma always said. So we’re putting up jars and jars of strawberry jam!
Most American of all, perhaps, is that one person stirs the jam while the other orders pizza for dinner!
These fit lads, Robert and Peter, got the customer-of-the-week award. They biked miles from Cornell to pick strawberries—and then biked back.
And our summer interns celebrated like most Americans: With their heads under the hood of a hotrod in the yard.
What could be more American than roadtripping from Tennessee to California in a baby blue vintage Benz, with a stop at Uncle’s farm to earn gas money for the next leg on the open road?
Holiday greetings to you all from The ‘Creek.