My law school friend Tiffany and her boyfriend Nick periodically go out into the countryside to pick fruits and vegetables at local farms. Today we went with them, and it was everything I thought it could be.
We tried to go to a raspberry farm, but unfortunately it is not quite hot enough in Illinois this season to get a good raspberry crop. Our next stop was Susie's Garden Patch in Garden Prairie, which had vegetables available for picking. We packed into the Honda and drove out into their corn field, where they had several vast rows of different types of veggies.
Dave and I picked up some regular peppers, sweet peppers, hot peppers, and eggplant. The eggplant were really hard to wrench from the plants, but we did it.
It was interesting to see how all the plants grew - cabbage grows really weird, as does cauliflower. However, pepper and tomato plants look very do-able, so I'm excited to have a garden of these someday.
We also picked up some other items from the farm store, including Amish black raspberry jam and honey. And Dave enjoyed the kitsch at the farm:
He's feeding the "do not feed" cow one of our purple sweet peppers. These were the weirdest looking peppers, but it will be good in a salad.
Our next stop was Valley Orchard in Cherry Valley, which had fruits for picking. Again, the raspberries were pretty scarce, so we kept to apples and blackberries.
They had two long rows of blackberry bushes, so we picked each side of each row very clean.
We came out with four very full pints of blackberries, and eight very purple hands. OK, there's only three in this picture - Nick was still in the field at this point, but we fled from the rapidly attacking bees.
I have very good plans for all these delicious fruits and vegetables. I froze a little over half of the blackberries this evening so we could have delicious blackberries in winter. As for the apples, I plan on making Ina Garten's French apple tart. Mmm. And as for the peppers, I plan on making salads, fajitas, and chicken tikka masala. Double mmm.
It was really fun taking the fresh produce directly from the plants and bringing it home ourselves. You can't get fresher, and you also feel really good supporting local farms. And we got to spend all day outside! Hooray!