If at First You Don’t Suc-seed

Written By: Danielle Palmaccio

As a native Long Islander, I have grown up being accustom to the fresh fruits and produce that our wonderful island has to offer. Whether it is the colorful sweet fruits or the dark leafy bitter greens, I have enjoyed them all. On numerous occasions I have tried my hand at being a producer of these valuable crops for my own consumption. However, these hobbies never really panned out well. Intrusive large worms, tiny mites, or deer have always seemed to crush my dream of being a cultivator of the land. Everyone else always seems to get it right, but, perhaps, I just might not have a green thumb. My turmoil in the garden turned me in the direction of potted plants. Throughout the spring, I bother my parents with my massive clay pots and numerous seeds that I always seem to spill onto the patio instead of into their clay home. I have found a liking to sunflowers only because they are the sole survivors to my farmer john tactics. My mom hates them. She thinks they get too big. I think they look nice when they grow out of the patio, but maybe that is just me. To curb my enthusiasm for my producing potential, I was recently sent out into the fields along with all of the city tourists to gather our island’s bountiful produce. In early spring, the strawberry festival brings in thousands of people to northern Long Island to engage in the picking of these blood-red berries. I have, of course, participated in this event numerous times. Falling into the dried out grooves of the earth and searching high and low for anything red are usually the typical events that take place. I always assumed that these aspects, along with the swarms of biting bugs, are what made this event such a wonderful experience. After the man hunt was over this time around and I successfully found all the berries I wanted, I waited on a line at Briermere Farms for roughly an hour to buy more berries that were not half eaten or squished. Every year, I always fought the crowd and stood my ground. However, this year was different. My squished berries and crispy sunburn did not seem worth it, as I had more berries on my sneakers than I had in my bag. However, I shook off the feeling of despair and looked forward to a new season to come. As quickly as strawberry season ended, peach season came upon us. I again ventured out into the orchard to pick the delicious produce of the land. I was excited this time to not have to fight the crowds that cast off any edible object with the slightest imperfections. The peach orchard is hidden to the right of the apple orchard, to the left of the plums, right behind the nectarines. It’s easy to find. It’s just a simple mile walk in 90 degree heat to the dwarf like trees. The orchard is silent. The only noise heard is the low droning of the bees and of course your picking partner, who is casually stuffing as many peaches into his or her mouth as possible. During this particular excursion into the orchard, I was quickly able to fill up my plastic King Kullen bag and made my mile long venture back to infamous scale. The scale is how your items are priced. The produce collected is always weighed by the pound. I spent 10 bucks when I went. I thought it was a great deal for how many perfect peaches I picked. When I got back to my house on the south shore, my plastic bag that held my peaches was leaking fluid. Most of the fuzzy skin of the peaches had ripped off like a scrapped knee during my bumpy car ride home. So, I sat there examining my bag of naked peaches, knowing that I was somehow going to have to con my family into eating all of these before they rotted the next day. I have always wanted to be a gardener or a farmer or any type of producer who can tame the land to give one the necessities of life. It seems to be an art form that I have not quite mastered. Whether it is the role of a picker or a grower, perhaps those life styles are just not for me. It is a dream that I will keep on dreaming. Or maybe I can just try again in the fall; I think apple season is just around the corner.