For months, I’ve been anticipating the first picking. Everyone with a berry share has been allocated a quart of any combinations of blackberries, raspberries or ground cherries. I ramble into the berry patch and note that it looks a bit like a jungle - vines and branches everywhere.
It has been raining, and crystalline water droplets cling to the fruit. There are some sugar-craving bees hovering about. Other than that, I am alone. I am surrounded by bramble. I feel a little like the title character in Robert McCloskey’s children’s book, Blueberries for Sal.
I start to pick, plunking one jewel-like fruit at a time into my quart container. The blackberries are plump and inky black.
The raspberries grow on gangly branches and shimmer deep rose and ruby red.
For some time, I have intended to celebrate the first picking of berries with a quintessential summer fruit tart – not something baked that would alter the composition of the fruit, but a recipe that would accentuate their just-picked, finger-stained freshness. I choose this recipe, and replace the suggested blueberries with a combination of the blackberries and raspberries.
The iridescent black and red fruit is scattered atop creamy-white buttermilk custard and bursts with the sweetness and tang of late summer.
It was well worth the wait.
©2009 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved