Monday, August 3, 2009

I have a problem

The first step in battling addiction is admitting you have a problem, right? Well, I guess I have a problem.

I am addicted. To berry-picking.

Strawberries are the gateway drug. Pick-you-own strawberry patches are everywhere, set up so neat and easy that anyone can pick them. All the plants are lined up in nice rows, no grass or weeds to deal with. Heck, some places even provide buckets. Just half-an-hour of easy picking and you've got a gallon of berries. That's how they hook you -- with strawberries.

After you've made your first batch of homemade jam or tasted your first home-made strawberry shortcake, you realize what you've been missing all these years. Store-bought just doesn't cut it anymore. You pick up a jar of raspberry jam at a farmers market, taste the sweet wild berry goodness of it, and think to yourself, 'hey, I can do this.'

You ask the jam seller where they get their berries. She eyes you suspiciously and refuses to say. You do an internet search and learn to identify raspberry plants in the wild. Soon you have hauled your family to the county park and spent three hours scouting around the woods under the guise of 'going hiking.'

That's just the beginning. Soon the raspberries aren't enough. You take your family on a vacation to the northwoods under the guise of 'going camping,' but really you are looking for blueberries. You drive endless hours along desolate country roads looking for wild plums. You trespass on abandoned farmsteads looking for mulberries and chokecherries. You peer through binoculars at rural windrows, hoping to catch the yellow speckles of apricots.

You're hard-core now. A full-blown berry-picking addict. There's no going back.

... Not that you would want to.

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