Our local Prelock Blueberry Farm includes us in the growth of the blueberries by keeping us posted through facebook and other media outlets. After much anticipation, this year the farm officially opened it’s gate July 6th. http://www.prelockblueberryfarm.com/
This is quite a cause for celebration. Nothing comes close to the taste of fresh off the vine fruit warmed by the sun accompanied by girly giggles. This is also as close as I come to actually participating in a “farm to table” experience. The pie we baked yesterday evening was made of blueberries alive just two hours prior to being enjoyed in the basement against the blaring sounds of tornado sirens, thunder and lightning. In the context of American supermarkets and international produce, this seems almost magical. It is not without irony that the store bought pie crust just crumbled to pieces and gently forced me to make a homemade pie crust. I know, I know…..pie crust is very easy…what am I doing buying processed pie crust anyway….bad hungry philosopher. Point taken. Ava and Lucy picked the blueberries, Jim carefully inspected the 10 pounds of blueberries for stems and bugs, I made the pie and some blueberry sauce. It was a shared process of production and consumption. A rare event in our household. Even Lucy our picky eater announced that the pie was “pretty good.” Yes….it was a magical event indeed.
Now I’m going to ruin this heartwarming story with a bit of philosophical analysis. What made the destruction and consumption of these tiny blue globes, delicious to human, bears and birds alike, so enjoyable? What is the difference between a carton of blueberries picked at our local Payless and a bucket of blueberries picked at our local Prelock Blueberry farm? The answer is worth a long discussion that ranges from skill, atmosphere, process, beauty, labor, taste etc. All gardeners and farmers answer this easily…..the love, understanding and effort, makes it different of course. Somehow, in knowing more we enjoy it more ( as all efforts to “cultivate taste” argue). Investment and knowledge increases appreciation and by extension pleasure. Considered consumption. Slow design proponent Alistair Fuad-luke calls this “reflective consumption.” We killed the blueberries but also gave them a glorious funeral. Hmmmm….that’s a bit of a downer. The point maybe that being invested in the process makes us “care” more. Slow food and farm to table efforts try to capture this pleasure of caring to various degrees of success. Makes me think of how philosopher Hannah Arendt defended the pleasure of the mind or Aristotle defended the pleasure of the good. My explanation of last evening’s blueberry pie may require a dissertation. So I’ll stop now and ask you……… Why do you go to pick-your-own farms, be it apples, strawberries or blueberries?