Sunday's beautiful weather convinced us to cancel our plans on a whim and head up to Woodbine off I-70. Twenty pounds of peaches is always a pleasure, but we were actually glad that we hadn't bothered our friends Magda and Holly, who had said they wanted to join our next trip. Picking on Sunday afternoon was scarce. Truly ripe blackberries were almost impossible to find. And the trees that dripped with ripe peaches a month ago had definitely been searched by many hands over the weekend.
Despite the work, Mrs. HowChow pulled 20 pounds of peaches in maybe a half hour. All glowing yellow and a few ready to eat in the car. Larriland also had fields open to pick tomatoes, apples, leeks and flowers. Even on a day of slim pickings, Larriland is a beautiful place -- the smell of peaches and the warmth of the sun. It is also beautifully run with people working in the all the fields and the barn full of produce, canning supplies, loaves from Ellicott City's Breadery, and those dried fruit candy. I'm already thinking about an October weekend when we can go for apples and pumpkins.
One new arrival is root beer and sarsaparilla from the McCutcheon's brand. The Frederick company has sold jellies and other items for decades, but I had never seen the soda before. Sarsaparilla was great fun. We both remembered birch beer that we drank decades ago.
Parting advice: Think twice about the blackberries for sale in the barn. They look beautiful, and they're a bargain compared to grocery store blackberries. But they're picked tart. I don't pick a blackberry if it resists at all. That is how you get sweet, plump berries. Dark, firm berries aren't sweet, and those tart berries dominated the pint that we bought. Still good for a blackberry & peach pie.