Sunday, July 04, 2010

First Tart of Summer and Life Musings from the Berry Patch at Restoration Farm

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.

T.W. Barritt

©2010 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved


Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

First of all, happy anniversary T.W. That's quite an accomplishment.

Your berry tart is scrumptious and most certainly teaches us some of life's most important lessons on this historic day of our nation's independence.

Cheers to you my friend,

Jann said...

Happy 4th year to you-the time really goes by fast, doesn't it! I think many of us have changed our course a few times along the way regarding our blogging techniques....oh, and cooking methods!
Your posts continue to educate and inspire me and have caused my mouth to water on many occassions, especially after that raspberry tart you just made! I so enjoy reading all about the Restoration Farm that you have been going to for quite some time now. How fortunate it is for you to live in an area where you can find and pick fruits and veggies and come home and create a masterpiece! Again,congrats on your blog's anniversary!

Julia said...

Happy Blog-iversary! I think I've only been reading your blog for a year now, but have enjoyed every single post! Especially today, with metaphors of life to be found in the berry patch.

I have a little berry batch in my back yard and have lots of scrapes on my arms from the bramble. I wonder what that metaphor would be? "No pain no gain" ???

Happy 4th and Happy 4th!

~~louise~~ said...

Happy, Happy, Happy, T.W.

Happy, blogoversary!!!! My invisible glass, over flowing with what ever you imagine, is toasting you and your blog!!!

Happy Independence Day, may it be safe and filled with Bang!

Happy is what I feel when I read this post. You have taken to Restoration Farm with such gusto this year. I do believe you have become "one with nature." I feel it in your posts:) Just beautiful as is that glimmering first tart of summer.

Thank you so much for sharing. May you celebrate many more years of passionate blogging...Louise

Deana Sidney said...

Happy anniversary!!! You have such a great blog with great stories and story lines... like your relationship with farmers... it is great to follow. The tart looks marvelous ( I must get one of those long tart pans... they just look wonderful!) Hope you have a great 4th with lots of reporting on food!!!!

Christo Gonzales said...

happy blogiversay and boy oh boy does that look like a perfect tart!

The Glamorous Gourmet said...

Happy anniversary & that berry tart is just gorgeous! I am so happy to have discovered your fabulous blog & I just signed up to follow you. Stop by and visit me at Looking forward to your next delicious post!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Thank you for four fabulous years of stories, reminiscences, and recipes. Though I am not a baker, I'm often inspired by your cakes and tarts, and today's post gives me a gentle reminder to go out and pick some berries in the warm sun. Thanks, too, for introducing us to farms and farmers.

Foodiewife said...

You're so right. There is NOTHING like growing, picking and preparing fresh fruits or veggies of any kind. I love that tart pan! Congrats of four years of food blogging. I'm so glad to consider you a blogger buddy. I always enjoy your stories and recipes.

Fresh Local and Best said...

Happy 4th anniversary! It's so great that you have a record of your cooking experiences, each year's changes of the season.

The raspberry tart is stunning. I can tell you're detail oriented. I like the lessons you outlined about berry picking. I haven't thought about it from that perspective, but it's true.

~I AM Love~* said...

Well, that is the 'mother' of all tarts, what could possibly be better? Thanks for sharing your musings about berry sounds as if they might even be extended to a philosophy of life itself. Bonne continuation with the blog!

Stacey Snacks said...

Happy Anniversary to you and me!
(great minds think alike).

and you know how I feel about that tart and the tart words necessary.


Mary Bergfeld said...

Happy Anniversary, T.W. It's always such a pleasure to visit here. I'll keep coming back as long as you keep writing :-). Your tart and musings about it have fallen on my very receptive ears. I hope you had a wonderful holiday. Blessings...Mary

tasteofbeirut said...

Beautiful tart! Loved your writing most of all especially your philosophical musings! (you are so right)

Chef Dennis Littley said...

what a great post!! that tart looks amazing, it must have tasted so good with all those fresh berries....and your images are beautiful!

Velva said...

Happy 4th birthday! I hope that I will be enjoying your wonderful blog for many years to come- I really do enjoy your blog.

It's blueberry season in North Florida and I could completely relate to your description of hand picking the berries, and then creating something delicious with your berry bounty in the evening.

Happy Summer and berry picking to you.

joyce said...

Oh wow, this is stunning!

veron said...

I always wondered how raspberries were picked because they seem so delicate. I love them specially on a tart and your look awesome. I like the rectangular shaped pan!

veron said...

Happy blog anniversary, btw. :)

Lori Lynn said...

Happy Belated Anniversary T.W.and best wishes for continued success!

The tart is beautiful,an awesome way to celebrate!