There's a farm in the far, far northern reaches of our city that grows organic produce for the picking. Velvety purple beans, sweet, fragrant Jenny Lind melons, basil, radishes, red and gold raspberries.
The rows are so orderly, the farm shop so well-kept, the produce so stunningly visual that one is gobsmacked, and even a little embarrassed, at the end of a good, long, indulgent session of picking and shopping, to hear the cashier announce the total.
"Really?" one wants to say. "Really? Couldn't I pay just a bit more?"
This place is beautiful. It's pristine. Even the mud feels clean, like you might want to use it for a spa treatment. And it has everything one could hope to find at the intersection between the suburban sprawl of the Front Range and the endless emptiness of Colorado's Eastern plains.
At this point in the summer - and a very wet summer it was for Colorado - the endless acres of raspberries are just coming into fruition, while benign bees pollinate busily and ignore invading hands.
This year's torrential and occasionally alarming summer rains have created an oversheltering haze that is alien to our dry-aired state, and makes for unusual photographs, obscuring, at certain times of day, the crystalline blue of the Colorado sky.
It reads more like California to my traveler's eye.
Somewhat to our surprise, we found that Q loves raspberries, and was happy to eat them straight from the branch by the fistful. We had a hard time keeping her carton full.
We also discovered that we are not born farmers, and our picking technique was dilletantesque, at best.
But nothing could dim the colors of this gorgeous evening in late August, just as the weather begins to turn cool in anticipation of fall.
Q's abiding affection for toys mimicking construction equipment left her feeling right at home among the tractors. I had to physically restrain her from putting this one in gear. And as for the pig, though she had never seen one at such close range, she knew exactly where she stood and was quick to point out its snout (complete with sound effects, and much to the pig's indignant alarm) and curly tail.
I think Q was a natural all around. Until, that is, she stepped in some extremely viscous clay-mud with her beloved river sandals, and felt wronged by nature.
Daddy picks basil for pesto, while QQ peruses the decorative blooms.
The farm shop, for those too lazy (or too ignorant) to find what they want among the rows of growing things.
The farm is particularly proud of their heirloom melons, and with good reason. Arriving late, we ended up scrambing for our last produce before closing time, and somehow managed to leave our melons behind. I was so depressed at the loss that Q and I returned the next day to retrieve them. All I can say is...the Jenny Linds? Transcendent.
The shop also offers an abundant selection of gorgeous hand-woven baskets from Ghana, and I think this was Q's favorite part.
Mine was quite possibly the tri-colored carrots. Is there anything as mouthwatering as a fresh carrot straight out of the sun-warmed earth?
Roosters....roosting. Sorry, couldn't resist.
The view as we hit the road heading back into "civilization"...with more than a little regret.
Two happy travelers at the end of another beautiful day.