I took yesterday off (mental health day). I was originally going to take Max to see the new Thunderbirds movie, but he balked at the last minute, so I went looking for something else fun to do. I posted the picture already, but now I have time to tell the whole story. I spied the Loudoun County Farm Products Guide (I don’t remember where I picked it up), and started looking. Originally, I wanted to go visit the Chile Man because he’s only open on weekdays, but Max didn’t seem too excited about sampling 3,000 varieties of peppers and herbs. Then, I spied it, Great Country Farms. They have a website and everything. The list of things you could pick was amazing, and it looked like they had some other stuff to do as well. Boy, did they. Here’s how it went:
- Park, go into country store, pay the $2.50 admission, get map.
- Try to guess the number of pounds the “average” American eats every year so we can get a prize. I guess thirty-five pounds. Max guesses twenty-five. We’re both way off. Americans eat an average of 125 pounds of potatoes every year. So, for being such miserable guessers, we get a yellow squash.
- Go through the very cool Willow Maze, make Max be the leader so I can blame him when we get stuck (we ended up taking turns because whenever we had to turn around, whoever was in the back was in the front, and therefore the leader).
- Find the “giant slide”, which was really a big plastic tube mounted on a little hill. It was probably fifteen feet long, and Max loved it. Watch as the boy gets extremely dusty as he figures out at least a dozen different ways to go down the slide to achieve maximum dustiness.
- After a thorough dusting, we decide to go pick blackberries. We get two little containers and a plastic bag and head over to the berry patch. We have a great time sitting on the ground looking for the biggest, ripest, blackest berries. Max decides he’s much better at finding the berries than picking them, “because I squish them”, he says (with a really cute little hand gesture to go along with it).
- After filling up both containers, we decide to go pick potatoes, since I’ve never picked a potato before, and we both like digging. We hop in the truck, drive down a dirt road, stop, get out, grab a big man-sized shovel and get to work. Let me tell you, digging for potatoes is a blast. It’s like looking for treasure. We pick up what we thought was a potato only to have it crumble in our hands… a sneaky dirt ‘tater (Max loves that phrase now, and has been calling me a dirt ‘tater for the past thirty-six hours). After finding the best possible three pounds of potatoes and putting them in our plastic bag, we start heading back in the truck.
- Before we’ve got a hundred yards though, we spy the most gorgeous tomatoes I’ve ever seen. I have to stop. I get out, grab another plastic bag, and set out to teach Max how to pick a tomato. Here’s how we explained it to my mom last night: “You gotta get down there, grab the tomato and twist it. Then it comes off!” Yup, that’s pretty much it. These tomatoes are heavenly. They’re big, meaty and delicious. Best tomatoes ever.
- Then we drove back down the dusty dirt road, and Max got to do the “coolest thing ever in my life”… he got to sit in the front seat. Now, before you call a social worker… we were on a dirt road, going five miles an hour, he was in a seatbelt and there’s no airbag up there. Plus, he was so excited, I couldn’t take it back after I offered it.
- We got back to the “country store”, picked out some corn, paid for our twelve pounds of produce and started driving home. Max promptly fell asleep, and I couldn’t stop smiling.
We had such a good time. The place has a lot of other cool things we didn’t do. We’re definitely going back!!
In other local news, we’ve found the best apple pie ever. There’s a little place called Mom’s Apple Pie Company on Sterling Blvd. (they have two or three other places in the area too). They use local ingredients in their pies, which is really cool. Now, if that were it, oh well, it’s local. But, this apple pie is the best. The crust is light a flakey, with a great buttery taste. The apples taste like apples and not just cinnamon and syrupy goo. It’s just heavenly.
Some day, I’m going to share my thoughts on supporting “local” businesses, but not right now. I’m too tired after this weekend. Satisfied, but tired (I stained our new fence today, and it actually looks good). I’m going to go to bed and dream of big tomatoes and dirty potatoes.