Believe it or not, in my 22 years away from the Philippines, I have not yet gone to any orchard to pick fruits. Not for not caring to do it but everytime I was in a group that attempted to do it, there was always a problem – no fruits on the trees survived because of a previous rain, the orchard was closed, we missed the season for the fruit, etc. I was starting to think the fruit gods didn’t want me to partake of their bountiful harvests. But I will not be deterred!
So once again this year, I vowed to go, at least, to one fruit picking expedition. At least one! So when my very close friends invited me to go with them for some sweet cherry picking, of course I said yes! Despite the hubbie not being able to come because of his choir rehearsals, I headed on! Joanne said she called the farm earlier to confirm what was available and so this time, we’re sure there’s something waiting for us.
So off to Baugher’s in Westminster, MD we went. Wesminster, a city in Carroll County, is about an hour’s drive eastward from where we live. (A little trivia: the film “For Richer or Poorer” by Tim Allen and Kristie Alley was filmed in Westminister, altho in the movie, it was supposed to be Reading, Pennsylvania.) Baugher’s Orchard and Farm is a popular destination for fruit picking. They are open all-year-round offering different fruits and vegetables for picking every season.
We arrived around 10:30 am. The sun was already high up. It was a good thing I brought my yellow wide-brimmed hat to protect my face from the heat. That and my moisturizer did me a lot of good. I also didn’t use any scented lotion or pefume. Insects get attacted to scents – you don’t want to be mistaken for their lunch, which for some reason I am a target of – scented or not. After paying for the tickets (around $2 each, thank you, JR!), we grabbed baskets to fill up and rode the tractor-wagon that took us to the farm. We went passed some other fruit trees already bearing fruits and then there we were! Cherry trees lined up in front of us. We were greeted by a nice Filipina who works in the farm. She instructed us not to go beyond the yellow tape and not to relocate the tree ladders ourselves but we can ask the workers going around to do it for us and then she sent us off to enjoy ourselves.
I tasted my first red cherry I picked from the tree and it was divine. I probably did that for the next 20 or so cherries, until I realized I haven’t put any yet on either of my two baskets. So there I was looking up and down the trees, picking cherries, putting them in my baskets or stuffing my face with it. At one point, I just sat down underneath one of them and just started reaching up to grab the fruits I can get my hands on. Happiness.
After about 10 minutes of just sitting there, I reluctantly got up to look for my friends. I say “reluctantly” because, who’d want to leave the shade? At one point I thought I looked like the proverbial Juan Tamad just waiting for the guava to drop right smack into his open mouth. But I did head back to where they were at. My friend, seeing my other empty basket, decided to pick cherries for me at the top of one of the trees. And soon enough, I had 2 basketful of cherries.
After about 2 hours, with both our baskets and our tummies full of those cherry delights, we hopped on to the tractor wagon to go back and pay for our loot. It was a steal – I only had to pay $29 for two full baskets. We even had time to go to their store to get me some crab dip that are oh-so-good with nacho chips. We also stopped by their restaurant where they sell their own ice cream and baked goods. I got me a gallon of their delectable raspberry ice cream and big apple pie.
So, there. I had my first fruit picking event and it was so cool! I’d like to thank my friends, Jr and Joanne, for remembering to invite me (actually, I kinda invited myself). It was a good time to bond with friends over food again. Until the nectarine and peaches season. Ooooh, apples, too!
The once named “godmother of the Philippine Blogosphere”, Gigi Manaloto-Refugia, known by her pen name “Ate Sienna” has been blogging since 2002 in her old pansitan.net community where she housed famous bloggers. She now writes about being 50-something and shares her tips on fashion, makeup, skincare, travel, food and thrift-store diving.
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