Sunday, July 2, 2017

50 for 50: 14 -- Berry Picking with Jacob (or: Sharon Eats Vegetables -- a photo essay)

(Apparently, I was so tired from zip-lining, I skipped right over "13" when captioning that last post.  Sigh.)

When I initially planned 50 for 50, I had pretty much two rules on it:  (1)  I come to you; and (2)  We pay for ourselves unless you say otherwise.  As I've started actually DOING 50 for 50, and getting people signed up for it, questions have arisen requiring new rules.  Like:  (3) more than one person can team up on a 50 for 50 thing, as long as both agree to it; and (4) additional bonus things are certainly encouraged and enjoyed, but, as far as the list itself goes, it's one per customer.

Somewhere in the twilight space between rules (3) and (4) comes the fact that a good deal of my friends are married ... to people who are also my friends.  Do married couples get two things?  Even if they want to share both things?  Um... why not?!  More fun for me!

Last week, I had the big party with the big calendar -- I invited a bunch of my local friends to come on over (with their calendars), pick an item off the list, and sign up for it on the giganto calendar.  My friends with kids brought their kids.

Leading to the hitherto unanswered question:  What about kids?

I hadn't really considered it, to be honest.  I mean, the 50 for 50 things I've done with various cousins have often included various cousins' kids -- and I have considered that to be one of the huge unexpected wonderful things to come out of the 50 for 50 experiment.  I mean, I haven't even MET many of my cousins' kids, and the ones that I do know, I pretty much only see at Bar Mitzvahs and other family events.  This has been an opportunity to get to see who they are outside the Family Function environment, and get to know a little bit of who they are.  So, yeah, sure, bring your kids, by all means.

It hadn't actually dawned on me that a kid would sign up for something until Jacob -- Peggy and Sabing's kid -- did.  He signed up for "Berry Picking," which is a perfectly normal thing for a ten-year-old to sign up for, and it totally makes sense that I kid I've known (and had fun with, and travelled with -- damn kid skis better than I do) for his whole life would sign up for an activity with me.  (Also totally makes sense that his folks would come along.)

SO.  Berry Picking.  

Tanaka Farms is a small family farm with a lot of educational programs located not quite outside civilization in Irvine.  We'd planned to go today, which was supposed to be the last week of "Strawberry tours," but they kinda ran out of strawberries (kinda -- more on this later), so we signed up for a "melon tour" instead.

$18, by the way.  Which sounded kind of steep, but, in retrospect, was well worth it.

We get to the farm and they're having a "corn festival."  It was small -- maybe ten booths selling stuff (including popcorn -- I impulse bought me some strawberry popcorn, which is delicious, even though Sabing thought it tasted like Frankenberries), and a corn-on-the-cob bar.  I almost bought a cob to snack on before the tour, but didn't.  This turned out to be wise.

The "melon tour" involves piling into a cart pulled by a trailer, and going for a short drive around the farm.  You stop for tastings of various vegetables -- they have coolers set up along the route, containing fresh (but already cleaned) produce.  They pass samples around the trailer (and you can just chuck the rinds, leaves, or whatever you don't want outside the trailer for composting purposes -- tossing the leftovers while you eat is actually a very freeing experience).  Before we started, our guide asked us to promise to be "brave tasters," and I figured that I had to be a brave little taster since there were kids around and I was trying to be a good example because I'm pretty sure that's what grown-ups do.  (Then again, I had "Berry Picking" on my list, so I'm not sure I'm super grown-up to start with.)

First stop was cilantro.

And cherry tomatoes.  (I still don't like tomatoes.  But I ate it.  At least they were tiny.)

Then there were green beans. 


And carrots.



(By which time, Peggy -- who was sitting across from me in the trailer -- said this whole thing was just going to be Pictures of Sharon Eating Vegetables.  Which seemed even more monumental than Sharon Having Two Drinks.)

The last stop was sweet corn.  Which was AWESOME.


The tour guide said this was the last tasting stop, and I thought maybe I'd dodged a bullet on squash and zucchini, but NO.  The last REAL stop was the melon tent.  They set up a big overhang in the middle of the farm, with a bunch of hay bales to sit on, and we all got out of the trailer and under the tent.  Then, our driver picked up the Biggest Damn Knife You've Ever Seen, and started cutting up fresh vegetables, which our guide put on plates and passed around for tasting.  Including the dreaded squash and zucchini.

I continued being a Good Little Taster.


I will reluctantly concede that fresh squash is inoffensive.  (Fresh zucchini tastes inoffensive, but lost me at the texture.)  We also got cucumbers which were super flavorful.

Then the melons.  OMG, the melons.  Orange honeydew; green honeydew; seeded red watermelon; seedless red watermelon--

and not little pieces, either.  Big wedges.  And they cut enough for seconds.  Sometimes thirds.  I was so full of melon (no photos, btw -- nobody needs photographic evidence of me slurping watermelon) that I was grateful I hadn't had any lunch.  My GOODNESS there was a lot of fruit.

They weren't done yet.  From the Saving The Best For Last department, they brought out yellow watermelon.  Seriously -- the flesh is yellow.  Bright yellow.  Piss yellow.  It's like God said, "I'm going to make this fruit the color of urine, but lo, for those brave enough to consume it, they will partake of the sweetest freakin' melon I have placed upon this earth.  For I haveth a sense of humor."  That was just crazy CRAZY good.  I had seconds.  I would have eaten more, but I was pretty full up on melon.

Then they lined us up and gave us parting gifts -- our very own seedless red watermelons to take home.  

We put our watermelons in the car and then came back for one last thing.

Behind the little produce market and before you get to the actual fields, they have about a dozen rows of strawberries, and you can get a little basket and do some pickin!  So me and Jacob got to pick berries after all!  Yay!!


No comments: