Bounteous Baskets of Berries

Friday the 21st is the official first day of summer and the one thing that screams to me "SUMMER IS HERE", besides the 100 degree heat, is bright fresh produce from all the local farms.  The farmers' markets are back in full swing, proudly displaying a mosaic of colors from all the seasonal fare.

Matt and I recently set out to stock up our fridge with the freshest possible fruit we could find... right off the trees, shrubs, and vines at Murray Family Farms.  Murray Family Farms is a popular stop for families traveling up and down 58 through Bakersfield, California.  The farm participates in sustainable farming practices with the family residing right there on the property.  The Big Red Barn is the flagship location with a smaller market just a few miles away. 

My husband doesn't realize that when he makes silly faces, silly pictures end up on the internet for all to see.  Or maybe he just prefers beige food?

We perused the available produce inside the barn/market/eatery.  Then Matt and I paid for the U-Pick option, loaded up a little wagon with baskets, and made our way out into the fields to start collecting our harvest.  Our first stop?  The corn cannon!  Except in summer, you get to launch rotting oranges.  And launch them, Matt did.  Over and over and over again.

When playtime was over (for the time being), we made our way to the strawberry patch. 

For the first time in my life I was able to taste a strawberry fresh off the stem, soft and warm and sweet from the sun.  It was pure bliss.  My plant at home just stares back at me with a bunch of leaves.  And no berries.

We passed by baby avocados that resembled something other than avocados before making our way into the peach orchard to gather up a basket of Country Sweet peaches.

Next we loaded up on blueberries.  I think a few of them even made it into the wagon.  And from there, we discovered the blackberries.  Or some hybrid thereof.  They were HUGE and SWEET SWEET SWEET.  I've never ever tasted a blackberry that was so candy sweet delicious.  No puckering here.  Matt and I ended up with twice as many blackberry-type-berries as everything else. 

We assessed our haul, decided we had plenty to get us through the next week or two, and made our way back to the main gate.  The 106 degree weather sort of expedited that decision as well.  Final fruit tally:  strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, peaches, and pluots all for around $20 not counting the $5.99 entry fee/person which I just may have consumed in fruit directly in the fields.  Good thing they don't weigh us before and after. 

The day was not complete without one last stop for each of us.  I stopped to admire the sunflowers.  Matt had to make short work of the oranges in the ammo crate.

One bottle of fresh pressed Rainier cherry juice to quench our thirst...

And we were on our way home to prep our rainbow of farm fresh loot for breakfasts and lunches for the upcoming week.  Welcome summer!  We hope you'll stay awhile.

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