On this sunshine-perfect August day my friend Judy and I decided to go on a hunting expedition. Two years ago she had stumbled across a farm advertising pick-your-own, and she’d gotten some currants. I’d been bugging her ever since about finding this place again, because the sauce she’d made from those currants was heavenly. I wanted currants of my own.
So we ditched the office and set out to find currants or, at the very least, blueberries. We knew the farm was in Eaton, New Hampshire, just a mile or so from the Maine border. Although we’d looked before and hadn’t found it, we reasoned that this time of year they would surely have a sign out. We turned off the main road at the Eaton town beach (which has a beautiful view of the little village) and headed north on the Brownfield Road.
We drove and drove, and Judy insisted that the road we were looking for had two words in it … so we turned up several, with no luck. One took us high up on a rise, with a little gazebo at the top and gorgeous views of the New Hampshire hills, and dead-ended into a driveway. A little embarrassed, we asked the residents if they knew of the farm; she said go back down the road, turn right, and look for the signs.
And indeed there was a sign – BerryKnoll Farm, on Old Portland Road (two words in the road name!). Turning in, we followed a long dirt road that opened up into a lovely setting with a shingled house on the left and fields of berries on the right; stone walls divided the space. Except for birds, it was complete quiet.
A table was set up near the parking area; this farm operates on the honor system, and the items on the table included a book with recipes for all the berries offered here, a sign detailing where to pick and how to write a check, berry boxes, an Indiana Jones plastic bucket (I am not sure of the purpose of this) and a berry box with a rock holding down a stack of money. Honesty prevails here on the Maine border.
We did meet the owner, Mr. Sorenson, and he said currants are out of season. Disappointed, we vowed to come back in July of next year, and instead focused on blueberries – of which there were many, many bushes. Blueberries were $4 for a quart. He steered us to a patch that he thought we might like, hoping to get 3 quarts each.
I have never seen blueberry bushes this size – they were almost as tall as we were – and they were loaded. They looked like bunches of purple grapes! (This man has a master’s degree in horticulture, and it shows.) I couldn’t get over it. I picked a quart of berries standing in one spot. They were so ripe, it was raining blueberries from the overripe ones dropping to the ground. I kept taking pictures. They were beautiful and they were plentiful!
Once we’d picked our fill, we wandered the grounds a bit. We visited the row of currants that we hope to pick next year. We looked at the headstone of the previous owners of the property buried here (you can do this in New Hampshire). And we admired the daylilies, phlox, grapes and rows of raspberries nearby … with a backdrop of the shingled house, garage, and saphouse. Mr. Sorenson also has 80+ taps on his sugar maples, and raises bees on a back lot. Along with being a county commissioner, this is one talented man.
Our boxes of blueberries were safely stowed on the floor of Judy’s Subaru and we headed back home. When we once again reached the Eaton town beach, we noticed a small sign that read, “Blueberries, 1-1/2 miles.” If only we’d seen that 2 hours earlier … but then, would the afternoon been as much fun?