Saturday, July 19, 2008
Pick Me a Blackberry
There was one other car in the parking lot - a minivan - when we pulled in. A sedan followed us, dust billowing up behind it on the rocky dirt road. We met under the blue canopy, interrupting the chatting teenagers who weighed our buckets and pointed us toward the back of the field.
We donned hats and headed out, bowing our heads against the already bristling sun. Our collective posse of kids ran ahead, and then up and down the aisles, disappearing behind brambles and then reappearing with berry-stained chins. They became quick friends, calling each other's names out, playing hide and seek and loosely supervised by the husbands.
We women were too busy to watch. We worked slowly, avoiding thorns, sampling berries. We talked about schools, the water table, peach chutney. One of us was determined to pick enough blackberries to make her diabetic father sugar free jam. Another had out of town guests coming and wanted to show off our hard won berries (now we understand why they are so expensive!!). I didn't know what I would do with our haul.
I ended up baking like a mad woman.
I made a blackberry crisp with locally milled flour, bulk oats, homemade butter, and fair trade sugar. I served that up with a homemade pizza made from all locally grown or produced ingredients. But the crisp, with it's 4 cups of berries did not make a dent in our bucket.
I saw no choice but to bake more. And so I did. Following this recipe, I mixed up our U-Pick berries, locally milled flour, local butter, cinnamon, homemade buttermilk (you know, what's left over after you make butter), and fair trade sugar. We devoured the scones with some farmers' market corn, peas and tomatoes, the latter served with fresh locally made mozzarella.
Was my berry bucket empty? Not by a long shot. Last night, I mixed the dregs of blackberries, with some old farmers' market strawberries and some new farmer's market blueberries to make triple berry crisp. It contained much of the same ingredients as the blackberry crisp, above, though we ate it after roasted, homegrown potatoes and salads.
Was that the end of my berry bucket? Yes. Yes, it was. But not the end of the post.
Is it possible to connect with other APLS with no fruit involved? No tart green apples as our mascot? No overflowing bushel baskets? No sumptuous blackberries mashed into jam? No blood, sweat and tear berries accompanied by a week's worth of scratches and a month's worth of memories? I suppose it is possible but why fight a good thing?
** All food is organic unless noted otherwise.