|The able horses, Bert and Bud.|
|James with his "perfect" strawberry|
After lunch, Zeb (co-founder of CRO) led a group of us to the farm of John (sorry, didn't get his last name) and his family to pick strawberries. I have the feeling that we city-dwellers pick much slower than the veteran pickers. It took our family about 45 minutes to pick five quarts. Every moment was enjoyable though. With the sound of the mooing cows from the not too distant barn, we felt like real farmers. Given our speed, I don't think they will want to hire us anytime soon though! After our little group had all the strawberries we desired, John and and his wife offered us glazed donuts (yes I had one - delicious!) and coffee. We offered to pay for the donuts and coffee but they would not take any money. The Amish are very hospitable and make you feel so welcome - not at all like we are intruding - which I am sure we were!
|The rippling brook|
Following our journey back up to the farmhouse, we climbed onto Aaron Schwartz's hay wagon and took a delightful tour of the farm. His very strong horses, Bert and Bud, pulled us through a track which took us by fields of greens, butternuts, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers and romanesco (think cross between broccoli and cauliflower). What treats we have in store for us this season! Aaron truly loves farming as was evident by his enthusiastic description and almost hallowed approach to enriching the soil naturally with various ground covers so that it produces abundantly. He jumped down from the wagon at one point to scoop up a handful of the "sandy loam" soil to show us just how rich and "earthy smelling" it is.
|The Clarion River|
We had a delightful day with the Aaron and Priscilla Schwartz family along with the other Amish families and their non-Amish helpers, Katie and Zeb. They could not have been more gracious hosts. After being with the farmers and their non-Amish helpers, these produce boxes have special meaning for me. It is not just vegetables. I have seen the land where they were seeded and grown, I have met the people who work sun up until sun down to produce them for us, and I have seen the love and care that they put into making this CSA a very pleasant and worthwhile experience for all of us. We have a real gem here folks. Pray that the Lord will bless them and the work of their hands (Psalm 90:17).
Next post: Scones with Strawberry Sauce and Macadamia Creme!