Thursday, July 23, 2009

Berry Delightful


I think my subconscious goal for this summer is to ferret out every single pick-your-own farm within reasonable driving distance and sample each season's offerings en masse straight from the ground, bush or tree one weekend morning at a time. This past weekend I found the only farm in this whole state that boasted gooseberries that would be ready for picking. I have only seen gooseberries once since I left Ukraine and that was last summer in Ireland, in the garden of a mansion, at the end of the row with something like 30 different varieties of potatoes. You can be sure that the little bush in the picture above was a bit lighter after I snuck away trying to hide the plump berries in my cheeks like a chipmunk. It was a long day of sight seeing and I needed a snack, so don't judge me!

I was all set to relive that experience again with a friend, who I picked up bright and early on my way to the farm, but once we got there we were told that the gooseberries were almost all gone, but that the currants were plentiful. Life is hard. We grabbed a little red radio flier-type wagon and some cartons and set out to pick what was there to be picked. I left my friend to pick the currants, grabbed a carton and set out to collect each and every single gooseberry that might still be hiding within the barren shrubs. I don't know if you've ever picked gooseberries, but if you come late in the season those bushes REALLY don't want you to have those last few berries. The branches are starting to dry up and the thorns are extra prickly. After walking the whole row I had a little bit over a pint of these tart and sweet berries, every single shrub was picked clean, and my arms were scratched from my fingernails to my elbows. Ouch! Don't they look lovely though?


By the time I got back my friend had picked a bunch of lovely red currants, so I just added a handful more (you can never have too much) and we headed back. Now, while Garden Patch Farms, the place where we went, is a bit overpriced all things considered, they have a fantastic variety of produce available for picking. On our way back we encountered the green bean vines, peas, green peppers, broccoli, and lovely rose shaped red cabbages. I wasn't planning on getting any veggies, but the cabbages just looked so good, I just couldn't walk past them, which led to my second learning experience of the day. I think assassins practice their skills on cabbages. After pulling and twisting I learned that the best way to pick a cabbage (aside from bringing a knife) is to sneak up behind it, grab it with both hands and sharply twist. The snap felt strangely like what I'd imagine a person's neck would feel like under similar treatment. Gah! At least this "bounty" will make a wonderful red cabbage cole slaw tomorrow and in the mean time I'll just put aside the blood-lust and munch on these:


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