A while back my … gosh … I don’t really know what to call her … my virtual work colleague? I was initially thinking my ‘online friend’ but that seems to have the wrong connotation 😉 Basically, Deb is the contractual ambulance biller assigned to our account at my day job. We have one of those work relationships that are conducted almost entirely over the phone and via email. I’m pretty sure I’d literally only met her in person twice (or was it even only once?), but I speak with her on the phone several times a week and email her almost daily. Recently she purchased the Farm Fresh Shelf from me and when she and her husband came to pick it up we got to chatting, and they invited us to help with their grape picking this year.
Deb and her husband own Crazy Legs Vineyard in Farmington, MN (check out their Facebook page). They sell their grapes wholesale to local wineries. As soon as she mentioned it, I knew that such an event would be great fun for me and my sister.
So bright and early this past Saturday, Debbie (my sister, the other Debbie in this story) and I loaded up the Bug with some lawn chairs and garden gloves, put the top down, and headed to Farmington.
As soon as we got there I knew we were in for a treat. Just check out that barn!
And the gardens …
I wanted to just take a tour of the place rather than getting straight to the grape picking!
I absolutely loved this little side building …
Wouldn’t that be a charming spot for a little vintage shop?
I don’t actually know what’s inside. It’s probably used for something far more practical. But it sure is cute, and I love the arrangements in the window boxes.
Without a doubt, they just made the grapevine wreaths (I’m guessing they have plenty of vines to hand), and it looks like they might be painted in a faded barn red (I may have to borrow that idea for my own fall décor this year).
And isn’t this little courtyard area next to the pole barn charming?
They had a really fun and unique combination of flowers in the window boxes here.
I tried Angelonia (tall purple one in the center) in my front window boxes once and they were a complete failure, but they look amazing here. I’ve never had great luck with Torenia (low purple ones on the side) either. And I love how they combined these with the variegated New Guinea Impatiens. Really unique and pretty fabulous.
Ultimately, I had to tear myself away from my own self-guided tour to do some actual grape picking though.
After some quick instructions on what to do, we set to work.
These vines were just loaded with grapes.
Apparently hot, sunny and dry is great grape growing weather.
We picked a lot of grapes!
OK, we didn’t pick all of those ourselves, but we did pick a lot!
I was surprised when I loaded that photo onto my computer and realized that you can barely even see the bees. There were A LOT of bees buzzing around that container.
They were making quite a racket!
Here’s a quick q tip for you, if you are afraid of bees, or allergic to their sting, then grape picking might not be for you.
But neither of us were bothered by the bees, for whatever reason they didn’t seem to mind that we were cutting away their grapes. They just moved on to the next bunch. There really were plenty of grapes for all.
By noon, we were pretty much grape picked out. Our gloves were totally saturated with grape juice and it was starting to get pretty hot out there under the noon-day sun. Luckily it was time for lunch, wine, and some live music.
I totally enjoyed the band, The Dang Ol’ Tri’ole. It was the perfect afternoon for sitting in the shade, enjoying a glass of wine and listening to some music.
To cap off the event, Deb’s son shot a cannon out of his … I don’t what you would call this thing … a giant pumpkin shooting cannon thingie …
Oh, and just to be clear, that little guy in the photo is not Deb’s son. He was a spectator.
I’m fairly sure that someone in the next county over is wondering where that smashed pumpkin in their corn field came from. Deb was just hoping it didn’t hit someone’s cow. I don’t even know how far away that pumpkin landed, I never did see it come down!
And speaking of pumpkins …
They also grow pumpkins and squash at Crazy Legs Vineyard, and they sell them at the end of their driveway.
In addition to your typical orange pumpkins, they had lots of white ones …
plus a bunch of really unique varieties that I managed to not get a photo of. I did manage to purchase a couple of them though, along with a few unusual gourds, and here they are …
I’m not exactly sure yet how I’m going to use these, but I’m sure something will come to me!
As we were heading down the driveway when we first arrived, we were chatting with another couple that was there for grape picking. They joked that they couldn’t go to Tuscany this year, but this was the next best thing. I have to say, I think this was even better! Beautiful scenery, grape picking with friends, delicious pasta and wine for lunch, followed by live music. We’d have paid a fortune to do that in Tuscany, and this was totally free (except for the pumpkins I purchased at the end) and no need for the 10 hour flight.
Who needs Tuscany when you have Farmington?