My husband I arrived home last Saturday after a 15-day-long trip to the Pacific Northwest to visit friends and family. Ben and I met our freshman year of college at the University of Oregon in Eugene. He’s originally from Seattle and when we both graduated I said, “Well babe, I’m going back home where it’s warm. You wanna come?” Lucky for me, he didn’t have to think too hard about that one.
On our trip, we first went to Portland to visit college friends and fully enjoy the heatwave that was happening. Compared to the humid, sticky heat of Hawai’i, it’s actually not bad. Plus, there’s really nothing to complain about when I’m sitting at the Columbia River with about 8 of my best friends!
We also thoroughly enjoyed the fruits of the northwest!! Something I really love about the Northwest is that there’s so much fresh produce–especially during the summers. Also, because people in the area are so environmentally- and health-conscious, they create resources to share what is being produced. For example, massive farmer’s markets and U-Picks!
In my mind, U-picks are the perfect win-win scenario. The owner has the land and resources to propagate wholesome, healthy fruit and veggies and–rather than selling all their crops to markets–gets to offer them up to the general public. S/he gets assistance in picking the fruit and veggies and gets to offer cashier positions (for many rural towns it’s nice to practice practical skills and not always have to be in the fields doing physical labor). Pair those things with the fact that people are allowed to eat as they pick (how could it possibly get better than sun-ripened fruit right off the plant??) and I think you’ve got something amazing!
Since we don’t have many berries in Hawai’i (nor would I want any more invasive, non-native plant species here, personally), I went nuts at the U-Pick farm!
In Hawai’i we have a wide array of unique fruits and vegetables that I think could work as U-Picks. But seeing as most of our agriculture land on Maui is dedicated to sugar cane (and almost all the old pineapple fields are being developed for housing), I can understand how it would be hard to set up and run such a thing. In any case, I definitely hope that one day at least some of us will be able to have enough land to support an operation that is as beneficial for everyone involved.