The Hudson Valley is a beautiful and bountiful place; many call it the “East Coast Napa.” Our soil, though often rocky, is rich in minerals and nutrients and our weather is amazing. The pace and way of life here isn’t for everyone. But it’s my way of life, and it’s the life I love and could never live without. As much as I loved Palm Beach, my heart never really left the Hudson Valley. Growing up here, in a very food conscious (we like to eat) family, we did a lot of eating with the seasons; had a home garden, and would regularly go picking at local farms “in season” which is basically all year but winter. We learned to eat seasonally without ever being taught, it was simply how we lived.
I remember at a very young age going to Greig Farms and picking Raspberries with my family, godparents and childhood best friend. I remember the taste and juicyness of the berries, my surprise at the prickers, my hands covered in the juice, and most of all my mom saying to me “Jessica you have to put some in the bucket, you can’t eat them all, we need to make cookies.” The bushes were taller than me, I was in awe. To really be efficient, we tied the bucket around my waist, that way I could eat, I mean pick, with both hands. I had picked strawberries at home before, but I had never been anywhere like Greig’s, I fell in love with everything about it. Infatuated with the sun, the earth, the aroma, the fruit, the miracle of it all. Even at that young of an age, I knew it was magic.
You can imagine my joy at being able to share such a special life experience with my niece Taylor. Last year we picked apples together, Becky hoisted her up into the trees and she joyously went after every apple, but this was different. She could run through the fields and pick them herself, and oh did she! Just like I did when I was her age; and she made me so proud. She enthusiastically ate every raspberry she picked. We told her she had to put them in her basket, and she quickly grasped that concept, putting them in her basket and then immediately eating them. So precious that little girl is.
In addition to going with my spectacular sister and the infamous Taylor Jane, we also met up with my friend awesome Melina, of Smylers Farm, in Hudson NY. A fantastic farm owned and operated by Melina and her husband Robert. The four of us had a great time picking! But I think Taylor was mor focused on the tasting. Of course, she IS my niece after all!
Pickings were scarce, seriously, the bushes were in terrible condition, the berries were damaged. We chalked it up to post Irene damage. I had never before seen the fruit so sad. It was really heartbreaking.
A little bit of paradise 😉
I did go home and made raspberry jam, but that recipe is for another time… 🙂 I am so very glad I got to impart this into Taylor, I can only hope she takes to it like I did. And I’ve gotta say, with a Mom like Becky, and an Aunt like myself, there’s a good chance she will.