For the past few weekends we’ve escaped the concrete jungle to find our rural fix at pick-your-own farms across Central Oklahoma. The built environment can suck the life right out of you and I’m desperate for these short getaways.
In fact, the older I get, the louder the clarion call: Leave the city. Grow some vegetables. Buy a cow.
From striped highways and acres of concrete to dirty convenient stores and fast food restaurants, I ache for wide-open spaces. A patch of earth I can call my own where the sky and the prairie play host to marshes and ponds and cattails. Where the scissor-tailed flycatcher perches on a single stalk of tall grass. Sways back and forth in the wind as if the entire prairie were his amusement park. It is, of course.
And, the Oklahoma bird soars above the warm fields and shows off his salmon-colored planks. For 30 years I’ve been too busy to notice his secret colors. “Look at me,” he warbles. “You’re such a sorry city sucker.”
Yes, bird, I am. I really am.
Pick Your Own
In full sun, we headed to Bobby Sloan’s place on the outskirts of Mustang, a town about 15 minutes west of Oklahoma City. Bobby calls his place Buffalo Creek Berry Farm, but I prefer to call it Bobby Sloan’s Place because when I reached out to different growers in the online pick-your-own directories, Bobby was one of the only ones who called me back. He also has two great dogs, Tigger (don’t call him Tiger) and Jessie. My kids played ball with them. They’re precious!
Bobby helps guide picking. He insists on clipping some vegetables himself like the okra. By the way, don’t pick the squash too young. The little ones don’t bring the growers any money.
Buffalo Creek Berry Farm is more than just a berry orchard. It has the greatest variety of things to pick. We came home with a bag full of tomatoes (lemon boys, red, green, cherry), cucumbers, zucchini, okra, jalapenos, bell peppers and green beans. It’s now one of my top two favorite pick-your-own farms and orchards in the Oklahoma City area. (The other one is Sorghum Mills Blackberry Orchard. You can see pictures of our trip here.)
Here’s what everything looked like when we got it home. The kids organized it all for me. Ahhhh, look at all the pretty colors.
During picking season, Buffalo Creek Berry Farm is open on Sundays until 7 p.m. It was so hot, I recommend going as late as possible. They’re also open on Tuesdays and Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m. In a couple weeks, the grapes in Bobby’s vineyard will be ripe enough to pick. This portion of the picking farm is by appointment only so call ahead of time. We can’t wait to go back!
I’ll take the kids and let them pick the sweet fruit. Smash it between their fingers and trample out the vintage of another Oklahoma summer. We’ll rail against the man-made spaces that suck the soul right out of you. And, I’ll etch myself into their memories one vine-ripe tomato a time: Mommy loves you unconditionally, and I know this love can carry you over the terrible things in life that swell the creeks and break the bridges.
Keep on going, kids, and remember the saying the wise men told the king to engrave on the inside of his gold ring: This Too Shall Pass.
Have you ever visited a pick your own farm or orchard?