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May 4, 2011

I haven’t been posting much in the past couple days, we put my brother’s cremains to rest recently and I’ve been having a really difficult time with it. It feels like losing him all over again and I’ve been going through the same unexpected crying spells as when it first happened.

To combat my grief and try to prevent myself from spiraling into a depression, I’ve only been exposing myself to positive influences: uplifting/upbeat music, funny or happy TV or movies, silly kid’s books, a complete banning of the news, etc.

One of the things I’ve wanted to do for the past few months is to go to a U-Pick berry farm, and I found one very close to our home. Since I was living in a fog of negativity anyway, I was thinking we could go ahead and take a little trip there but I wanted to wait until this particular one had their blackberries ready because they’re my favorite and I love them.

I had high hopes.

So when I saw that blackberries were ready and asked the owner if they were ready and we had enough time to make it out there, we went.

The good: The farm is in swampland bordering a small lake. It’s pretty. There are a lot of blueberry bushes teeming with ripe berries. That’s it as far as good things go.

The bad: Upon arrival, we are asked to sign in (which was strange to me since they weren’t asking for an email address to stay in touch with customers; it just came off as bizarre to ask for a name and a signature only), and are told that the blackberries are not ready. This is frustrating to me because I asked specifically if they were before making the trip out and was told yes. The woman we spoke with said we might be able to get a handful if we looked for them though so I wasn’t totally frustrated. Yet.

We went first to the blueberries so I didn’t feel like the trip was a complete waste and I wanted to support our local small businesses instead of leaving because I was misinformed, however purposeful it felt to me. The owners were alluding to having a very limited supply of berries, and to get out soon while they’re still here. Which is fine, whatever, but it wasn’t true. The blackberries weren’t ready and they had acres of blueberries; each plant had ripe fruit.

BF and I felt comfortable strolling through the blackberry vines to see if we could find a few berries, and we did. We found several handfuls until the owner (the woman I first spoke with) came over to us and reprimanded us for picking the blackberries. As she went on and on about how their blackberries were different from all the other blackberries and they weren’t ready to be picked, I decided that being spoken to as if I were a naughty child was not an appropriate way to treat customers. That’s ignoring the fact that we were told it was okay to pick them if we found them.

We had been planning on going back for more blueberries at that point, but decided against it after that little episode. I told her I was done and ready to go, and when we got to the table to pay, we were started in on AGAIN by her husband for picking unripe blackberries. I walked away at that point. It was either cry because I hate confrontation and being spoken to like a foolish child, or snap at them and tell them exactly where they could stick their berries. If I opened my mouth at that particular moment, the frustration with how we were being spoken to would have been mixed with my anger over losing my brother, and however badly we were being spoken to it wouldn’t have been fair to take out my personal stuff on people who had nothing to do with the latter.

So BF paid and we left. I had a terrible time. It was a bizarre way to treat paying customers in my mind, as they both spoke to us that way in front of other customers. I wouldn’t go back if you paid me to. Next time when I support local businesses, I think I’ll be checking to be sure that they’re actually from the area (these people weren’t) and are making an honest living as well as being courteous to their customers.

I’m not going to specify publicly which farm it was, though I’ll gladly tell you if you leave a comment as they’re all moderated and I’ll just respond in an email. This was my first U-Pick experience in our area and I hope to God I can find another farm with nicer people. Plus these guys charged too much, we chose them because of their proximity to our house and the fact that it was [falsely] portrayed as a wholesome, fun environment.

Don’t let my dreadful experience turn you off of U-pick farms, though. My bloggie friend over at Swampbilly Ranch had a lovely time picking blueberries not too long ago. She went to one in Plant City I believe.

I honestly don’t even want to eat the berries at this point, and I think I’m going to stay away from people I don’t know for a while until I feel better equipped to handle less than pleasant things. Apparently those folks didn’t get the memo that we Southerners use our manners and treat people with honesty and courtesy. They won’t be getting any positive word-of-mouth from me, that’s for sure.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. May 4, 2011 8:42 pm

    You have my condolences, hun.

  2. May 4, 2011 10:09 pm

    I am so sorry you had a bad U-pick experience. How far are you from Plant City? Come on down and we will get some lunch and go berry picking where they treat you alot better than that! No blackberries though I would love to have some. I mad some wonderful jam out of the blueberries we picked.

    We have a wonderful Southern Hospitality store here. Just sayin.

    • May 5, 2011 3:14 am

      Thanks, Debbie. I’d love to have lunch and go U-Picking in PC with you! I kept thinking about your experience while we were there, and how I know Plant City to have just the nicest people.

      That Southern Hospitality is a great store, right? They have such neat stuff there.

      I bet that jam came out delicious!

  3. May 4, 2011 10:11 pm

    Sorry to hear about your loss and the lousy trip. I have never done a you pick trip at business like that so nothing to compare it to.

    I hope you get to feeling better!!!

    • May 5, 2011 3:01 am

      Thanks for the support! I’m feeling okay, and some days are better than others; I think I should have trusted my instincts though and stayed home lol.

      I did U-Pick once for strawberries and had a blast so I wanted to do it again, I’m picky about fruit and I like to be able to feel it’s texture before I get it and end up disappointed lol. Anyway, what would you need a U-Pick for? You guys have like, an entire produce stand growing in your yard! 😉

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