The whoosh of air plays with my hair as I drive with the windows down. It’s a Floridia winter day, when the skies are blue, dotted with white pillowy clouds. All I feel is freedom on days like this. I don’t feel tied to anyone, not weighed down by obligations or work. Saturdays are phenomenal!
I weave my free hand through the jet stream as the back roads of strawberry central rumble underneath my car. Rows upon rows of green mounds, dotted with white flowers and red berries, surround me all around. The light odor of berries and onions floats on easy winds.
Spying a U-Pick sign, I stop. I can’t resist. The assistant hands me a box lid and I make my way to a nearby row. The sandy soil dirties my sneakers, but I don’t care. I kneel down at a plant full of juicy, plump fruits and gently pinch the vines, picking the shiniest specimens.
As I walk the aisle, birds chirp and dance among the plants, sneaking a berry here and there. One such beauty balances on a fence and sings a beautiful song before taking flight again. I pause to watch all of them flit, swoop, and dance in the sky, then turn back to the field.
Soon, I find myself balancing a heavy box lid full of amazing berries. Their aroma is tempting, but I know I really should wait to wash them off. However, I can’t resist….just one! The juice explodes and dribbles onto my chin. I look around, however no one sees the mess. However, a tell-tale pinky-red stain on my shirt tells the whole story. I rub the juice off my chin and head back to the start of the row.
Other cars pull in and start picking as I make my way back. The field is no longer my own. The silence gives way to giggling children and smiling adults. I smile and wave hello as the assistant weighs my haul. I hand over the money, slide the berries safely into the trunk, and jump back in my car.
The ride home is restful. My legs, a little weary from bending, relax as my feet push the pedals. Luckily, home isn’t too far away.
I start to plan my list of what to do with my bounty. Some will be for breakfast in the morning, atop homemade crepes. I’ll keep some for snacking; who doesn’t love strawberries with a little sugar and whipped cream for dessert? Most however will turn into scrumptious strawberry preserves tomorrow…jars and jars of preserves. Some will be my private stock; others will be Christmas gifts if I decide to share.
Inspired by my single days driving through the strawberry fields. I still enjoy driving through the fields to this day and get excited every winter when strawberry season rolls back around.