Wednesday was our last day of picking, and our juice buyer made it easy for us by saying that was the last day they would receive fruit. We didn't even have to make a decision!
And now, these great kids can go on to their real lives:
Evan, Mackenzie, Taryn, Trent
Bret, Alexa, Shelby, Grant
And I don't want to leave out those not pictured, our faithful subs! Mackenzie's brother Tanner really helped out a lot, and we were glad to have a couple of alumni, Carmen & Leslie, fill in as well. It was a year that required hard work every day, no exceptions. These kids worked together so well, and never complained, looked out for their team-members, worked 33 days with only 2 days off, kept each other entertained, were excited to work into the dark (which, frankly, is a little bit weird) and without them, we wouldn't have a harvest!
I kind of love them.
And we'll miss seeing them. Daisie is already glum about it. Harvest is her favorite time of year.
And already it's over...which, except for Daisie, we are all happy about. Nice to have a tough year over. Nice to know that we don't have to worry about mold anymore. Let 'er rip. Nice to have leeway in our schedule, and the freedom to mix it up a bit.
Or do nothing without getting behind.
Overall, there are a lot of disappointed berry farmers. Yields were down; quality was elusive. Some will have a tough time making it to next year...
We are not among that group, and are grateful for that -- sorry for those who are. After 26 years in this industry, we are pretty blase about the ups and downs. They come; they go. No one forced us into this occupation, so we don't want anyone to feel badly for us. We chose this, and understand that we are riding a roller coaster...It's dipped pretty low some years, but it hasn't crashed yet.
And so far, we always come back saying, "There's always next year..."
I suppose that when we can't say that anymore, we'll know it's time to quit.
Until then, we're keeping on...very happy that it's the off-season again!