Honour in Strawberry picking

It was a perfect summer morning. We were driving from somewhere to somewhere in California. This big signboard was significant enough to grab and hold the attention of folks in the car. STRAWBERRY PICKING.

In no particular hurry to get anywhere the mind didn’t need any effort to get enticed to alight and set afoot to do some picking. Strawberry picking !

It’s got some level of physical activity for all in the family. For the kids to run around. For the adults to run after the kids. For adults to become kids. And for kids to chase the new found adult kids. In between, of course, plucking and heaping up strawberries in small containers.

There were very few instructions to follow. This board illustrated all that was needed to be done. Which was as elaborate as : Come here : Go pick : Come back & Weigh : Pay up : Go !

Pick we did. With some gusto. Any first timer could have mistaken us for folks that have never seen strawberries before or for folks that have been kept restrained for long. Slowly the baskets kept filling. The red strawberries glistened to the background sounds of cars and big Harleys whooshing by, which in themselves were dwarfed by the shrieks of joy in finding a bigger strawberry !

Soon we were done. There was enough energy left in the nieces to pluck the entire strawberry. It was us adults, who were tired. And folks like me still calibrating the dollar-rupee equation and wondering how much we would have plucked for !

That brought me face to face with the ‘honour till’ as they call it. The concept is simple again. It goes like this.

a. You bring in the strawberries that you have plucked

b. You weigh them yourself

c. You calculate how much to pay

d. You open the till ( ‘cash box’, as is better known in our part of the world )

e. You pay the money

There is no ‘cashier’. In fact, no one from the store is around. There are no cameras. Nothing. The folks just trust you to weigh correctly and pay appropriately. Guess what, we lived up to their trust, in right earnest. Paying to the last dime. That perhaps is the model. Trust people to pay and they will ! That was interesting. To say the least.

Its about a month ago that we did all of this. The rain drenched Mumbai air provides a distinctly different flavor to the senses. Much different and much enjoyable too. Yet, dipping into memories of red berry dotted rows of green, is done with no difficulty.

The days when adults became kids and kids remained kids are not days that are forgettable. The expanse of nature and the fresh clean best complimented by an expanse in the trust of the ‘honour till’. The clean blue skies and the fresh stillness of farmland only to be punctuated by those shouts of joy from such adorable nieces.

Well, some memories are truly priceless.

15 thoughts on “Honour in Strawberry picking

  1. Insignia says:

    That was one thing that I kept observing in that part of the world – honesty.

    You get the stuff, no one to monitor you, you pay and leave 🙂

    Strawberry picking – thats an experience. I am glad you enjoyed it.

  2. Karen S. says:

    What great fun, these are such wonderful places to visit…and these strawberries looked so perfectly yummy! Great TP vacation get-away!Great color in every photo! Thanks

  3. SG says:

    Do you think just trusting people to do the right thing will work here in India? As much as I’d like to believe that, I’m not totally sure. Let me not make a generalist comment about the whole of India. Instead, let me relate what happens in Patna.
    My neighborhood has been strewn with garbage for years. I have only returned to live here a month and a half back, after ten years, and have been continuously making inquiries, submitting petitions and talking to people about regular garbage disposal monitoring. You know what I found out? That about three years ago, government had placed huge bins at every crossing that were to be cleared off twice every week. In a week, the metallic covers of the bins disappeared. In less than a month all bins disappeared. This happened twice.
    That is not all. For weeks, I observed open manholes on the road leading to my lane. When I asked about that, I was told that manhole covers are stolen overnight, so nobody bothers to get new ones any longer.
    I don’t think integrity is the only issue here. I have a feeling that poverty and want levels in the society have a lot to do with it.

  4. Jeevan says:

    That’s something sure to taste great grabbing ourselves from the field. That’s good physical activity to feel content taste of ripe.

    Wonder how people are so reliance there. It’s hard to find a reliable person here, even if he was the non content feeling brings negative thoughts.

  5. Neha says:

    One question: Do you think this model will work in India? You can answer it anywhere – twitter, BBM, mail or here!

    PS: Do I sound like a voter who is asking a question to a soon to be stading for election politician?

    PPS: Why PS is longer than the comment whenever I write one (or more?)

    PPPS: Bah, I am blabbering!

  6. Pearl says:

    Oh, fresh strawberries! Tasting of sunshine and summer…

    When thereis much, it is easy to be honest. Not to downplay the good people of California, of course!


  7. kinminsworld says:

    I agree with what SG said.. In India, the problem is poverty and the need for things.. But then, even people who have plenty don’t think before bargaining with the rikshawallah or sabji walla for 5 rs.. is it also the mindset?

    Another thing I really like about the people here (US) is the level of courtesy.. E.g., in a bus, people usually get up and offer their seats to old or handicapped people, and pregnant women! I love the concept of saying thanks to the person who has rendered a service to you! Its these small little things that bring a smile to many faces! 🙂

  8. Yeah, it is an experience indeed. I spent 10 years in North America and it is a shame that I never once did it. I am glad you did. 🙂

  9. Aleta says:

    Isn’t it wonderful that we can still remember to be kids? And I love the “honor system.” It can bring out the best in us and make us feel good about it too. Those strawberry pictures look sooo yummy!

  10. Max says:

    Looks like a lot of fun! We had blackberry bushes in our back yard when I was a kid, we used to pick and eat ourselves sick. Ahh, fun stuff.

  11. Bob Scotney says:

    There are alot of pick your own sites in the UK. Not have such an advertisement out front and none I’ve been to have an honesty box.

  12. Alexia says:

    Those strawberries look so luscious! They make me long for spring.

    We have many honesty-box orchards and growers around here. I just got mandarins at one a couple of hours ago.

  13. Great pics! Perhaps this type of system could be introduced at Mahabaleshwar during Strawberry season? Would be nice. 🙂

  14. Carmi says:

    This is delightful. Your perspective on paying by the honor system is a powerful one, Kavi. I live on the edge of town, and my bicycle commute to work often takes me past farms. One day, I noticed a big basket at one farm’s entrance. The farmer had put up a hand-written sign advertising corn, along with a price per piece. The instructions asked passers-by to place their money in the adjacent box, and then choose their corn.

    Total honor system. And whenI contacted them for a column I wanted to write, they said in all the years they had been doing it, not once had anyone ever taken advantage. Amazing.

  15. radha says:

    I know, the movements not being monitored is really what strikes you on any trip abroad. I guess it is just the crowd. In a crowd, you will always have some who may take advantage. If there is some order, we probably can have a system like this. And how welcome that would be!

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