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.

13 comments:

Burbanmom said...

wow! And the recipes would be.... where? I need something for company coming over on Monday. Help a baking-challenged girl out, wouldya?

:-)

Heather @ SGF said...

Ooh, Green Bean, I'm so jealous. Our berry season is gone here and I just caught the tail end of it. I'll be prepared next year though. Those scones look delicious!

ib mommy said...

I swore I'd picked my last berry of the season but your baking is giving me second thoughts:)

I took my kids berry picking for the first time this year and it's amazing how much less food they waste when they realize how much work it took them to fill up those buckets!

Green Bean said...

Burbs: Click on THIS RECIPE for the scones (they were awesome) or TRIPLE BERRY CRISP for, well, triple berry crisp. Both of those recipes were awesome and I'd highly recommend them. The blackberry crisp, um, not so much. It's not like we didn't eat it and all but it was kinda mushy.

Heather: This was the last day of berry picking season - a season, I might add, that I've missed every single year but this one. And yes, the scones were delicious.

ib mommy: Isn't it amazing how much work those berries are? And picking them is only the last part of the equation. Man, makes you think twice before tossing food into the compost bin.

greenbaby said...

We're buying a used freezer today and I can't WAIT to fill it full of summer berries! (Blackberries aren't yet ripe here in Oregon.)

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Kate said...

yum yum yum!

Our berry season (raspberry and blackberry, that is) is still a week or two away, and I simply cannot wait. There is nothing better than patch picking with kids in the warm morning sun...unless of course you count the delightful days of eating said picking will provide!

arduous said...

Does this mean you're bringing some delicious fruit to the APLS picnic in the park? :)

Crunchy Chicken said...

You need to find a U-Pick with thornless blackberry bushes. Muuuuch better.

We won't get blackberries probably until late August, but this year it will probably be September at the rate things are going.

Green Bean said...

GreenBaby: Hope your freezer is soon overflowing. Thank you for the information on your carnival.

Kate: So true! Thank goodness you are on top of your season. This is the first year that I've actually made it on time - even though it was the last day of the season.

Arduous: Hellllooooo. Long gone, sister. I'll scrounge up some mushy strawberries and week old peas for you guys. Don't worry. ;-) Totally looking forward to it!

Crunchy: Hm. I guess I should note that for next year. My arms thank you.

Donna said...

What fun! Just don't ever pick blackberries on a windy day -- ouch! Our berries will ripen here sometime in August and I wish I knew of a place with thornless, but normally we just walk a mile up our hill to a playground and pick to our heart's content. We used to be able to get them even closer, but someone developed the vacant lot. Sigh. Happy eating! They make great freezer jam, too.

Going Crunchy said...

Yum! I adore summer berries, especially if you pick them yourself. Just plain 'ole berries with fresh milk is a good one for me.

kale for sale said...

I'm interested to know about the peach chutney conversation because I canned some last weekend. It's good but not great. The recipe was too much juice which we drained off but it ends up that's where the bulk of the flavor was.

Those berries you picked are gorgeous. I've bought them a few times but there's no chance they're getting in a recipe of any kind. I eat them before I get them home.

spelled with a K said...

just the thought of blackberries is making me drool, time to make some calls to the local u-pick farms.

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