By Alan S. Thompson
(July 12, 2010 - 9 a.m.) Saturday morning July 10: My wife Marilyn and I were readying for our maiden voyage to ‘The Berry Patch’ (south of Nevada) for fresh tomatoes, my friend Lee Matteson a newer member of the Berry Patch Staff assured me they were simply fantastic.
“Yes Dear, I’m coming” I said, as she acts like I’m the one that’s holding up the show. And we were off…
A half hour later we pulled into the driveway of the Berry Patch, We parked and strolled over to a lady in a shady small building with a scale, fresh picked produce and a cash register. I asked if Lee was there today, she politely smiled and said “yes” then pointed up a hill to a path leading to the northeast.
Soon we spotted Lee or he spotted us and we were offered a tour on his Berry-Mobile. I quickly concluded this place was not just another sterile slice of Story County farmland. Someone definitely had a vision and a clever plan in mind there in the not so distant past.
It was reminiscent of photos I had seen of Tuscany, Italy’s vineyards, but on a smaller scale of course. With gently rolling green hills, overflowing with row upon row of pruned berry bushes, and uncomplicated ordinary people dotting the beautiful naturally hilly landscapes, busily hand-picking the in-season fruits.
I had to remind myself at times that this was Central Iowa, as Lee drove us past field after field of strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries and blueberries. He also pointed out the various apple and cherry orchards and showed us the peach trees. Also along the way we glimpsed the rhubarb and tomato beds and last but not least the freshly cultivated pumpkin patch.
All too soon the tour was over, as Marilyn and I drove our vehicle north to one of the blueberry fields, just south of an orderly line of white beehives, with the two small plastic buckets in hand that they had provided. There we were in the warm midmorning sunshine, for the first time in our 60+ year lives, picking country fresh ripe blueberries.
Wonderful, described our visit best, as we settled up with the Scale-Lady. Over four pounds of plump blueberries and six big juicy red-ripe tomatoes predestined for Blueberry Pie Alamode and BLT’s.
Taken as a whole we both agree, “The Berry Patch is truly a unique Central Iowa experience and extremely uncommon treasure!”