All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
~ from The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
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At my family’s small lowbush blueberry farm in late July and early August, the energy is festive. Over a thousand customers come from around the valley with their friends and small children each year to participate in harvesting the year’s blueberries, and most of them have a personal connection to the farm and the land, if not to my family directly. The blueberry sorting barn is filled with the roaring of fans and conveyor belts as the fruit is winnowed and packaged into boxes of five, ten, or twenty pounds and sold directly a few yards away; out in the picturesque fields, customers pick their own berries alongside local teenagers harvesting thousands of pounds of blueberries each day for what is often their very first job. The fruit is firm and sweet, easily surpassing in quality the conventionally grown lowbush blueberries, usually from Canada or Maine, found in the frozen section at supermarkets; and healthy-minded mothers excitedly discuss the antioxidant properties of the lowbush variety while tussling the blueberry-stained hair of their toddlers.
The loaf felt soft in his hand. Not soft and soggy like the stale bread crusts he had eaten all his life became when it rained—it was warm, and fresh. And the smell! It was the same smell that had made his stomach rumble every time he walked down the alley behind the tavern’s bakery—but now he experienced it a completely different way, knowing that the sweet smell was his, that he would sink his teeth into that warm, soft loaf. He looked behind him with a fearful grimace, but wild and delighted. No one in the busy street was looking at him. He reached up and over an edge in the wall, an edge he was too short to see but which his fingers knew perfectly—and he swung himself onto the tavern’s roof.