There is something miraculous about picking berries in the morning sun and eating the first tart of summer that same evening.
It’s not just that you hand-picked each berry and that each one was warm to the touch as you tugged it from the branch. It’s not only the place where the berries grow, and the historic and community associations conjured up by the location. It isn’t just that you know the people who planted the berry field, and the legacy they’ve created. And, it’s more than the fact that you made the tart crust from scratch and painstakingly tucked each berry into perfectly aligned rows.
It’s the experience of all of those things coming together in that sweet crush of tart, ruby red berries and buttery shortbread crust, so pleasing on the tongue. It’s sharing the tart – just out of the oven – with family, and sharing the story of that tart – from morning to evening – with them.
At the berry field at Restoration Farm, the raspberries are running wild. Long gangly branches are clustered with shimmering, blush-colored berries. Some are still ripening and others are begging to be picked.
The sun is on my neck, and I can hear the cows “mooing” on the nearby Powell Homestead. In the berry field there are families and individual who have gotten out early – before it gets too hot – to fill their baskets and pails with berries.
As I work to fill my container – imagining the rustic tart these berries will become – it occurs to me that in so many ways, the art of picking raspberries is kind of a metaphor for life:
Don’t pull too hard. When the raspberries are ready, they will slide right into your fingers.
Be patient. Hand picking may be time consuming, but before you realize it, your bucket will be filled.
Talk to people in the berry patch. You might have something to share, and you might learn something from them, recognizing that you’re all part of a community
Breath. You can actually smell the raspberries growing on the brambles if you take the time.
The best berries are hidden underneath. Take a minute to change your perspective, bend down and look under the branches. Explore, and you will be rewarded handsomely with fat, ripe raspberries.
Savor the sweetness. Eat the tart slowly, experience the exquisite simplicity of its flavor, and remember the moments and experiences that brought it to the table.
July 3rd marked “Culinary Types’ fourth birthday and this is my 392nd post. Looking back, I see that the very first post was about an attempt to create a classic Gateaux Fraisier that almost failed spectacularly. An early lesson from the kitchen. Thank you for reading throughout these four years. Nearly 400 posts later, there are still tales to be told, because food is our common story.
©2010 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved
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