Let's get this straight, if you eat blueberries, or raspberries, or over-ripe zucchinis for that matter, while you are out picking them at Coonamessett Farm (or any farm), you are stealing. If you allow your children to do it, and you don't fess up at the check out and throw in a little extra money, which I had to do last summer when I couldn't seem to get H to stop helping himself a la Blueberries for Sal, your child is stealing.
I know I'm hot and cranky, and possibly hopelessly square, but seriously, I think Farmer Ron would be appalled if he were to walk through his blueberry bushes. Today it seemed like all anyone was talking about was how many berries they had "tested." Except for the two teenage girls at the end of one of the rows, they were throwing berries at each other. Their mom asked them to "cut it out" but it didn't look as if they heard. I would have hauled them out by their hair and taken them home.
Forget people all over the world who are rioting for food, how can you blatantly rip off someone whose face you are familiar with? Someone who's letting you come onto his property, his beautiful property, and pick gorgeous, healthy, produce. I realize that eating a handful of blueberries probably won't cause the farm to go belly up - but - like I say to C, as one of my generic responses to a lot of different requests, what if everyone did it? Then where would the farm be? I can't imagine those same people graze the produce department at Shaws and encourage their children to do the same.
In the past I've been asked if I let my kids eat while they pick and I used to give the polite answer which is no because the berries hadn't been washed off yet. That's a good reason, but it's not the real reason. The real reason is that it's wrong to eat something before you pay for it. Kids don't understand shades of gray, if they think it's okay to eat one or two, why not a dozen, why not as many as they want?
And as for the people who've been caught walking off the farm, vegetables in hand, who claimed that they thought the vegetables were free with their farm membership - spare me. Does your BJs membership entitle you to take things from the store for free? Does your membership to Heritage Museums and Gardens mean you can walk off with merchandise from their gift shop? You're better off claiming you forgot to pay, at least that's slightly more believable.
Today we picked berries, H and I. Then we paid for them, washed them, sat on the deck overlooking the farm, and ate them, which, frankly, has to be more pleasant than eating them in the field, though I wouldn't know for sure.
song: Stealing Kisses • artist: Lori McKenna
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