U-Pick and Herb-y Melon.

Yesterday was another one of those days- fussy kids, fussy Mommy. Carolyn has been up at night, usually around 3 or 4, so she and I have both been totally wiped out in the mornings, leaving Jack bored and frustrated. I didn’t want yesterday to be another frustrating day at home, and we were completely out of bread, so Jack and Carolyn and I went over to Great Harvest.

I love Great Harvest bread- they have stands at both Rice’s Market and the Wrightstown Farmer’s Market, in addition to their store in Newtown. I feel very fortunate to live just around the corner from my favorite bread shop! They have these great stamp cards, and each time you buy a loaf they mark your card. When you buy 10, you trade in the card for a free loaf. And apparently, when you’re halfway through your card, you get a free scone, muffin, or house-made powerbar!

I hadn’t ever heard of this halfway-point reward, but I certainly wasn’t complaining! Peanut butter, oats, raisins, cranberries, sesame seeds, and a little brown rice syrup. Amazing! I’m on a mission to re-create these at home…

I wasn’t totally sold on the idea of going back home after Great Harvest. It was so gorgeous out, it seemed like a shame to spend the day indoors, so I drove up to Solebury Orchards!

What better way to spend a morning than picking your own berries and fruit??

I took Jack apple picking last year, but he didn’t fully understand what we were doing, or why. This time around, he was totally in to it! He had a great time picking blackberries, and quickly grasped the idea of only picking the black ones.

Meanwhile, Carolyn rolled around in the grass and explored.

She even tried to help with the picking!

…although, none of her berries ever actually made it into the bucket…

An entire morning of laughing, and I take a picture of her only frown. Go figure.

Blackberries that we picked ourselves! 🙂

It was so peaceful picking berries and watching them explore.I honestly think I could have stayed there all day among the berry bushes- it was that lovely. It helped that the weather was so outstanding. It was also so freeing to be in a place where Jack could have a little bit of freedom. I felt like I didn’t have to constantly have my eyes glued to him- he could wander and play in the dirt, as long as he stayed where I could see him. In an orchard, that gives him a lot of room to roam!

We picked a big bucket of blackberries, and then moved on to nab some apples. There wasn’t a whole lot Jack could do in the way of helping me, since most of the best apples were toward the top of the trees, but he still brought me a good number of apples that had fallen onto the ground. Of course I thanked him each time and told him they were lovely.

We haven’t done too much picking ourselves this year, mostly because of the heat. Also, Carolyn is juuuust beginning to tone it down with the whole sticking-everything-in-her-mouth routine, so I can finally put her down and let her roam without worrying that she’ll choke on a stick. I was actually feeling a little bummed out that this was the first time we went this year (we missed blueberries and raspberries!), but as it turns out, this was the very first day of the picking season for apples, which are actually easier and more fun for Jack and Carolyn. I have a feeling we will be eating a LOT of apples this fall… 😉

Solebury Orchards is one of my favorite farms. They have a stand at the Wrightstown Farmer’s Market, and their products are becoming increasingly available at local grocery stores, which is great when I don’t have time to drive up to New Hope (or on Monday-Wednesday, when the orchard is closed). Though, as our Saturdays become more geared toward weekly meal preparation and food shopping, I think a trip to the Orchard will also work its way into our routine.

We wrapped up our visit with some cider ice- shaved ice with Solebury Orchard’s fresh cider poured over top.

Outstanding- whoever came up with this idea deserves a medal.

After the orchard, we stuffed ourselves with apples and blackberries on the way to Bristol to drop off a carload of clothes and toys to consign. There’s a great store that offers 50% of the selling price, and whatever they didn’t take went over to the Salvation Army. Each time I clean out the kids’ outgrown clothes and toys, I get a little sad. It was especially tough getting rid of Carolyn’s bunny bouncy seat…but I have to remind myself how excited I get when I find a good deal on used baby gear. I like to think that I’m spreading that love by helping Jack and Carolyn’s outgrown things find new lives with other children. Of course, I do keep some special things- mostly clothes that I really loved, or things that were given as special gifts- things that they can use for their children someday.

We ended our day in Bristol to visit with an old friend of mine from Arcadia. We met at the park- I wanted to really be able to visit and catch-up with Erin, and I knew that if I tried that in a coffee shop or restaurant, I’d end up spending my time trying to keep the kids from exploding. Better to just cut them loose at the park and enjoy myself. Erin even took Jack on the swings while I sat feeding Carolyn!

It was great to see Erin- my time at Arcadia wasn’t one of the better segments of my life, but I did meet some interesting people, and made a great friend in Erin. It’s good to know that there are people in my life with whom I can pick up with so easily, even though we haven’t spoken in a while. I’m looking forward to seeing her again soon.

My night ended with sleeping babies and a visit from Moms. We sat in the kitchen and caught up, talking about recipes and food and updates on the kids. We’re all going to the Wrightstown Farmer’s Market together on Saturday. To say that I am excited is a gross understatement.

This was the view from the park a half-mile away from our house, as I was driving home. I had to pull over and take a picture, it was that beautiful. I took an astronomy course this summer, and it has given me an entirely new perspective on the sky and beyond. I don’t think I’ll ever look at it the same way again- it is truly wondrous.

This morning I got up and dealt with our blackberry surplus. It’s so easy for me to turn them into an epic snack, and polish entire containers off in a single sitting- but as August comes to a close I am realizing that berry season is packing up right along with it. Blueberries are already off the market, and raspberries have been getting a bit dry too. I have some of each bagged and frozen to get me through the winter months, but with berries I can never have enough.

Freezing berries is incredibly easy- just spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet and pop them into the freezer. When they are frozen (they’ll have a frosty layer over the tops), just bag them!

Can you tell that I have very little to do with the contents of our freezer? 😉

Alternatively, you can also just toss them into freezer bags, but I find that taking the extra time to lay them out on the sheet prevents me from having to bang a giant clump of frozen berries on the counter when I want to use them. It’s great to have them on hand through the winter for smoothies, baking (blackberry-almond-currant biscotti!), or even defrosting and tossing over hot oatmeal. Or you know…just snacking on. Frozen blueberries are incredibly refreshing by themselves.

Speaking of frozen fruit, there’s something new and exciting lurking in my freezer…

Frozen açaí! I am açaí-obsessed, but it is incredibly hard to find. I spotted these in a freezer bin at Whole Foods and had to try them. It is pure açaí, unsweetened and portioned out into four packets. All you have to do is toss it into the blender, along with your other smoothie ingredients. We tried an açaí-banana-almond milk smoothie, and it was outrageous! Açaí is bursting with antioxidants and intense flavor, so these are a welcome addition to our frozen fruit selection.

I’ll leave you with this recipe for Herby Cantaloupe Salad. It forever changed the way I think about melon.

 

Herb-y Melon Salad

by Elizabeth Austin

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Keywords: raw appetizer breakfast dessert salad side snack gluten-free kosher low-carb low-sodium nut-free soy-free vegan vegetarian sugar-free melon cantaloupe basil fresh herbs American spring summer

 

 

Ingredients (4-6 servings)

  • 1 melon (I used cantaloupe)
  • 1/4 bunch of basil
  • 1 small bunch of lemon balm
  • 4-5 sprigs of mint
  • lemon juice, to taste

Instructions

Cut melon in half. Remove the seeds, slice, cube, and toss into a large bowl.

Please excuse my scary-looking melon. It had been sitting on the counter looking perfectly content until I rolled it onto a different side and found this ugly situation happening on the bottom. Yikes!

Remove the leaves from the stems of the herbs and chop finely.There is no mint in this photo, as I had to hike out back and pluck some from my mint plant, but I assure you in was present in the final product.

I also did not chop my herbs very well, rambunctious children and all.

Toss melon with herbs, and add lemon juice to taste.

Eat the entire thing in a single sitting. Outside. In a hammock. Or is that just me?

Enjoy!

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6 thoughts on “U-Pick and Herb-y Melon.

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