Duck Creek Blackberry Farm

It was nice to feel the warm morning sun with the soft summer rays cascading across the berry farm.  A boy and his mother are carrying a basket together, he reaches for the berries towards the bottom of the bush while his mother reaches above him -- "Now don't pick the red ones, those aren't ripe..."

The boy waits for his mother to look away and suddenly his hand shoots towards a gigantic, juicy RED berry "NATHAN, if you keep picking the red berries I'm going to have to take your bucket away!" He plucks the red berry and drops it in the bucket, smiling wide at his mother.  She shakes her head and laughs.

It's funny how children are able to melt their parents' hearts like that, with a sweet innocent smile, poof the anger just seems to vanish.  Too bad that move doesn't work on my parents anymore, how cool would that be? -- "Hey mom, about that $3500 credit card bill...*smiles*" "Hey dad, I may have wrecked my car..by hitting a parked car *smiles??*"

(pictured above: a Yellow Garden Spider or Argiope Aurantia)

Though both accounts would realistically cause severe consequences involving both physical and mental anguish, even in the worst situations parents always somehow forgive.  You truly learn the virtue of patience when you become a parent, even when your children are 50 I bet that same impish smile probably still melts your heart.  Kids are just manipulative little creatures aren't they?  :)

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Since moving to Texas, I have abandoned my inner farmer (instincts) for some reason.  Before, when I lived in Minnesota and Ohio, my family would venture out to berry and apple farms where we'd pick til our hearts were content.  I would remember picking fresh strawberries in the following order, one in my bucket, one in my mouth... until my stomach would hurt and my bucket was full.

I think one of the things I love most about picking fruit is being able to experience the environment in which the fruit flourishes.  There is something magical about going out to an open apple orchard right when the sun is peaking through, the grass still fresh with dew, and all around you see branches hanging low and heavy with plump beautiful apples.  And the smell!  Oh the sweet smell of sun-kissed fruit, there are few things in this world that beat it.

When Natalie suggested going on a berry pickin' adventure a couple of weeks ago, I was ecstatic.  Out in Sanger,TX about 10 minutes outside of Denton, there was a beautiful spot -- Duck Creek Blackberry Farm.  It is there that blackberry farmer, Charles Kessler grows over 5000 blackberry plants of all different varieties, mostly thornless so they are more "picking friendly".

So bright and early at 6 am, the Natalies (From Natalie's Killer Cuisine and The City Sisters) and I met up for some good ole berry pickin'.  By the time we arrived, there was already a crowd of people surrounding the truck bed of gallon buckets -- waiting to be filled with plump and luscious blackberries.  The entire farm stretched out as far as the eye could see -- littered with not only blackberry bushes but pear trees, apricot trees, peach trees and pecan trees.

Using a carefully crafted water irrigation system along with the help of a couple of hives of honey bees, Charles Kessler has successfully maintained his blackberry farm since 2004. For only $15 for a gallon bucket, it's enough blackberries to last you at least a week -- but not if you have a Wells in your family, my honey ate all (except a small handful) in one sitting.

Hence why I have absolutely no dessert to show for it...but I guess that's the plus size of having friends who have food blogs as well :)  You can find a wonderful blackberry mojito recipe at The City Sisters and delightful berry pie bars at Natalie's Killer Cuisine.  Enjoy!