Did you know that blueberries grow in Florida? I didn't until a few years ago. Well, they do, lots and lots of blueberries. Most of them grow in sunny Haines City on the Mixon Family Farm. I am fortunate enough to know the Mixon family and to teach their children. For the past two years, the Mixons have given a gift of blueberries to the teachers of their children. We were invited to come out to the farm and pick those beautiful berries that are not only tasty but good for you, too.
I got up early Wednesday morning to go out to the field and beat the blazing sun. It was a beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky. We were met by the Rhonda, the farm office manager, who took us to the field where we were to pick. She gave us buckets to use, picked a few berries, and made us feel welcome. The birds serenaded us with their sweet tweet voices as we scowered the field for blue gold. The berries were plenitiful and we soon filled our buckets. As the day grew longer, the sun began to take it's toll on those not accustomed to standing beneath its blistering rays. An occasional breeze and the taste of sweet berries helped to make the experience more pleasurable. The berries had a dusky hue and ranged in size, color, and taste. Each time you would eat one, you would swear it was better than the last. Soon laughter competed with the chirping birds as friends made memories of a day in the sun, laughter and hope, and the sweet taste of berries in your mouth.
I want to thank the Mixon family for sharing their blueberries with me and many others. Berries that could fall to the ground, fill my freezer to make the start of my day sweeter. I am fortunate to know a family that shares the fruits of their labor with family and friends. Each time I fill my bowl, I will think of them and once again say a silent "Thank You".