“The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, dear,” my maternal grandmother told me over and over again when I was growing up in the Midwest. Grandma, may she rest in peace, always had berry patches in her backyard for pies to please the most hard-hearted male guest, but if she could have seen the scale and abundance of Connecticut berry farms, she would probably, as we used to say, have fainted dead away. Prairies are not made for berries; woodlands are. Since it’s true that the way to a woman’s heart is through her stomach, too, I’ve developed a passion for the annual ritual of visiting local pick-your-own farms for strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries.
The argument for going to pick-your-own farms, when one has the time, is unassailable. It does not get more local than this, unless, like my Grandma, you want to grow your own (another unassailable idea but beyond the scope of this article). Berries in season are at their peak of freshness and nadir of price, and one also has the satisfaction of knowing that one is supporting farmers in one’s community.