Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Fresh Blueberries and New Buddies!

Last week our first and fourth grade scholars got a very special springtime treat: a trip to a blueberry farm!  30 scholars from each grade took a day-long trip to J & D Blueberry Farm in Poplarville, Mississippi, 75 miles away from the Dreamkeeper Garden!

Blueberries growing on a bush.  Almost ripe!
Scholars were met by Mr. Jeff, who moved to Poplarville and opened the farm after Hurricane Katrina.  Mr. Jeff gave our scholars a tour of his farm, which includes several varieties of blueberries and other fruits such as persimmons and asian pears.

Farmer Jeff demonstrates how to pick a blueberry
Scholars paired up with a buddy so every fourth grader had a first grade buddy and vice versa.  Fourth graders helped their first grade buddies as needed and first graders kept their fourth grade buddies on task!  Buddies worked well together, and some even came away with new friends!

Fourth and first grade buddies, making quick friends!
After the tour each scholar got a big brown bag to fill as with as many blueberries as they could pick to bring home!  Farmer Jeff showed scholars how to pick blueberries: gently, by rolling the fruits off the stems so as not to damage the plant.  After the quick harvesting lesson scholars descended upon the blueberry bushes weaving in and between rows, sometimes bending down or standing on their tiptoes, sometimes reaching far into the tangled branches of a blueberry bush, all in a quest for the perfect ripe round berries.

A first grade scholar shows off her harvest!
During lunch farmer Jeff told everyone about some of the health benefits of blueberries including cancer-fighting antioxidants.  Scholars didn't need any convincing to eat these natural and nutritious treats!  Nothing quite compares to the sweet and tart taste of fresh blueberries.  

First grade scholars enjoy delicious fresh blueberries!