Sunday, 24 June 2007

Blueberry Garden Opened

I courteously wipe the surface of a bulky, slightly misshapen wooden table, and place an old scale, dozens of rattan baskets, handmade flyers, a calculator, bundle of papers and pens. Rearrange them in a different order. Put some back in their original place. There are few items on the table. I walk down to the signboard and flip it to ‘Open’. The reception desk is now ready to serve the first customer.

Today is the opening day of the blueberry garden attached to Café Pique Nique. Some berries are ripening and ready to be picked at the beginning of the season. A family van drives up to the car park next to the reception area, and cheerful voices burst out as children jump from the car. I smile and say ‘welcome to the blueberry garden!’

There are about 80 blueberry bushes in the garden. Most berries are still green, but some have already darkened to a ripe, purplish blue and are about to fall.

I hand over a rattan basket each and take them into the garden. I briefly explain the types of berry bush, their origin, and the best time for harvest (only just learned). I reach the closest, ripest berry and touch it with my fingers. See, if the berry is ready, it comes away naturally. The children are eager but somewhat hesitant. I place the berry, just-picked, into the elder brother’s hand. You can eat it. He looks into my eyes, face open with curiosity. I nod with smile. He looks at the berry in his palm as if it were a precious jewel and then throws it into his mouth. Smile. How sweet! he exclaims.

Next moment, they are all over the garden trying to find the treasure.

I return to the reception desk and another car arrives. Smile comes to my face of its own accord, and I call out ‘welcome to the blueberry garden!


少しゆがんでいるものの、どっしりとした重みのある木のテーブルを、丁寧に雑巾掛けしていく。その上に、古い秤、籐かご、手書きのちらし、計算機、メモ帳 とペンを順番に並べる。少し考えたのち、順番を入れ替え、思い直してまた元に戻す。満足気にテーブルの上を見渡す。決められたところに決められたものがある。数段ある階段を降り、看板のあるところまで歩いていく。「開店」の文字が上に来るように札をひっくり返す。売店の準備は万端。後は一人目のお客様を待つばかり。





籐かごを手渡し、ファミリーをガーデン内に連れて行く。木の種類や、もともと生息していた場所、 収穫に適した時期などについて(ついさっき仕入れたばかりの情報ではあるのだが)、手みじかに説明する。おもむろに手を伸ばし、一番近くの枝になっているブルーベリーをつまむ。










1 comment:

Satoko Shibata said...

What a lovely place!
I can imagine how ripe and fresh they could taste. It was last summer in England when I first had some blueberries. I loved them! I heard Blueberry is good for our eyes. As I've got poor eyesight, I'd love to go to your Blueberry Garden and appreciate its taste.
(and hopefully, I will have sharp eyes.)