Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Berry Field in Basic Black and a Blackberry Focaccia


One eventually comes to the realization that we now seem to gage the progression of summer according to the arrival of different fruits and vegetables.   Color and calendar are synonymous.  Such is the “biological clock” for most members of Restoration Farm. Lettuce, greens and strawberries characterize early June.   Blueberries, eggplant and zucchini tint mid-July.  In August we welcome brilliant heritage tomatoes the color of the rainbow and dark, ink-stained blackberries.  

In the back of one’s mind is the idea that one must seize the moment, as that brief blast of color, crunch, juiciness and flavor is temporary, no matter how glorious.  

The blackberries have signaled their imminent arrival for weeks, with hundreds of knotty red berries clinging to the bramble.   One by one, they have darkened.   When the word “Blackberries!” appears on the chalkboard at the distribution tent we descend on the fields to fill our baskets.
I encounter my friends Maria and Matthew in the berry patch.  Maria is looking for the last remaining blueberries, and a few can still be found.  We talk about how the berries might be transformed for a dessert or a recipe at our respective homes.  We call it "farm talk" -- sweet dreams of meals still to come.   Blueberry pancakes, grilled peaches with blackberries, or a blackberry focaccia. 
Matthew is combing the blackberry bramble for dark clusters of fruit.   It is an untamed patch of thorns, leaves, branches and berries.  On each branch, it seems like just one single berry has ripened.   It is meticulous work – picking one berry at a time – but heartening to know that the blackberries will continue to ripen for several weeks to come.  
Nearby, several goats have wandered over from the historic village and are being wrangled by a farm hand.  Two are black goats, distinctive, with a streak of wild abandon.  A bit like the blackberries of late summer.  
Blackberries conjure up memories of days past, romantic notions and even a touch of delectably dark cravings.   This recipe for blackberry focaccia promises a host of such sensual pleasures.  
It is a rustic temptation, dreamed up by British author Nigel Slater for his book “Ripe:  A Cook in the Orchard.” Consumed warm from the oven, it is a sweet indulgence that captures a brief moment in time. Inhale the sweet aroma of yeast and savor the rich, jammy flavor of blackberries that melt into the hot, crusty bread, as summer will soon be a delicious memory.  
©2012 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved   

15 comments:

Gloria said...

I adore blackberries and thid post made me reminder all these lovely summer days picking blackberries and after normally we made jam:))

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

I don't think the goats just happened to wander over, I think they came for a taste of the last blueberries.

Your focaccia is gorgeous and what a great way to use the fresh-from-the-garden berries. You've brought back wonderful memories for me this morning of my mother and her blackberry jelly. Have a great Sunday T.W.
Sam

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Thanks for the reminder that my neighbor's blackberry brambles are ripe for the picking now. In my kitchen, berries seldom last long enough to get baked or cooked into anything. I eat them like candy.

Zany said...

This blog needs to come with a warning for pregnant people. Now, I'm craving that entire loaf of blackberry bread. Looks like I'm off to the market to see what I can create myself!

Kat said...

Oh, how I love blackberries, but hate to pick them. I am going to have to start traveling around where the blackberries are ripening! Ours have been gone now for at least a month or more. I will have to check out that recipe for the focaccia, it looks delicious!

Kalyn Denny said...

That looks so delicious; I don't think I have ever cooked with blackberries.

Velva said...

We picked 40-qts of blackberries his summer. Our season comes to an end as your begins...Love the fruits of summer. To think it is almost fall again.

Velva

tasteofbeirut said...

You are reminded me of our neighbor's mulberry tree which keeps giving fruits over and over, no matter how many times they are picked. Blackberries here are wild and can be deliciously sweet. Am curious about this bread, any recipe coming up?

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

There is a link to the recipe in the paragraph just above the first photo of the focaccia!

~~louise~~ said...

Farm Talk! I love it!!! And I adore those luscious looking Blackberries too, T.W. You have made them soar in that yummy looking Focaccia of yours.

Thank you so much for sharing the "tasty" side of Restoration Farm...

P.S. I'm thinking about getting a goat:)

Catherine said...

Dear T.W., This is a beautiful creation! I don't think I would be able to stop ripping a piece off this bread each time I passed it by.
Have a beautiful week and blessings, Catherine

lostpastremembered said...

Grape focaccia is one of my fall favorites. I love the idea of making it with blackberries! Sort of cuts out the jam step on making your morning toast!. Lovely pictures of the farm... it looks like a magical place!

Mary said...

What a glorious harvest treat, T.W. I can't think of a better way to use blackberries. I just added the recipe to my "must-try" list and hope to get Slater's book at the library. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

sophiesfoodiefiles said...

I just love blackberries! We have a thornless blackberry in our garden which produced a lot of blackberries this year!

I didn't have enough blackberry recipes so I can make this stunning & appetizing blackberry foccacio bread!

It looks fenomenal & apart! :) Georgous too! :) Waw!

veron said...

those blackberries look amazing and your breads always look fantastic.