In the early evening, during peak raspberry season I’m at the edge of a large farm in my home town, Abbotsford, British Columbia picking baskets of lush raspberries with my Mom. The weather was perfect today. More specifically, my Mom, as she often recalls her early childhood berry picking job, informs me that its ideal weather. The sky is a bright, overcast and the air is slightly muggy.
I’m not a professional berry picker. I leisurely pick the raspberries off the bush. I don’t pick the bush clean. I know this isn’t the correct way to do it, but, that doesn’t matter to me. I pick raspberries with my Mom because I plan to freeze them so that I can enjoy all year, if my small stash will last that long.
Berry picking of any kind is competitive in my family, more specifically with my Mom. I know she doesn’t intend it to be a race or a competition, but I understand that her summers spent picking berries in the fields as a kid are not comparable to my pathetic berry picking stamina. I like to eat raspberries but I don’t find picking them to be very interesting. My one basket is typically shown up by five of my Mom’s, however, today was not typical.
Memories of the last years berry picking event haunts me. We picked raspberries in the same field last year, only last year were chased down by the large picking machine the drove closer to us as we stuffed berries into our baskets. The women and men upon this beastly machine shook their fists, pointed and cursed in out direction. They were angry with us, but we were allowed to be their. However, we never stuck around long enough to explain it. The fear grew inside me as the beast turned around and the end of the row, now heading in our direction. My Mom was still packing fists full of raspberries into her baskets but I just wanted to get out of there!
Today I’m in the raspberry field picking my yearly stash of berries, laughing and chatting with my mom about the earlier years experience, when suddenly not to far away, the beast started up just a few rows away from where I’m picking. Ahhh. I panic and pick faster than I thought was possible until my heart is pounding so hard that my Mom insists she can hear it. I’m terrified that we are going to be caught again, when in fact we are allowed to be picking these berries. At this point, I’m scared out of my mind, my eyes are wide and I just want to go home.
In total I picked three full baskets of raspberries to my Mom’s four baskets. Not bad for the girl who is painfully slow at picking and now thanks to the scary berry picking machine, is anxious about getting caught red-handed.