Lannae's Food and Travel

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June 27, 2007

Berry berry good to me

Here in Nashville, we has the start of a lovely spring in the beginning of March, and I thought we were going to have a great spring. It was no longer freezing over night, and then in April, WHAM! The deep freeze came in and ruined all the early strawberry crops, killed trees that already were in bloom, and killed back a lot of shrubs. Because of the freeze, the strawberry season was only 2 weeks, and then there were no strawberries to be had besides Driscolls. sigh.

Then we had the long dry drought that lasted until last week. The drought had really made me appreciate what local farmers are going through as they watch their crops not grow due to lack of water. The surrounding rural counties have "no burn" orders because the is a risk of starting an uncontrolled fire. My grass has not been mowed in 3 weeks because there has been so little rain, and the grass has not grown. The drought was killing the 2nd round of berries, blackberries and raspberries. The season for these gems is about one week this year.

wild blackberries from Bramble Hill Farms

I have had to go outside the local 100-mile limit for fruit because the growning conditions this year have been so hard. I have been supplementing with bananas which are good for exercisers and potassium. It is also good for people to attract mosquito bites. I would prefer to eat only local fruit this summer, but there just isn't the rain and conditions that would make a fruitful bounty.

I was only able to get the wild blackberries by contacting Bramble Hill Farms earlier in the week, and asking for them to hold a pint for me, and I promised to be there early to buy them. 2 weekends ago, the berries had a very complex and sweet and tart flavor with a slight bitterness to it. They were the perfect berries that lasted 4 days of rationing. This past weekend, I was lucky to buy yet one more pint, but they were more ripe and sweeter and they needed to be eating with 2 days due to the ripeness. I was so sad to have eaten the lasts of the ripe blackberries yesterday, and I look longingly at the photo about the scrumptious goodness. I know I will have to wait a year for these treasures again.

a friend's raspberries from her yard

Then today, to my good fortune, my friend walked over with a pinkish-red clear plastic box with a clear plastic bag over it. As she walked closer, I could see it was RASPBERRIES! Oh dear, my thoughts went into sweet berry overdrive. She has a couple raspberry bushes in her back yard, but they too took a drought hit, and bird love the berries. Last year, she shared 2 quarts, but this year only 1 pint. The reason for the low volume this year is because of the drought. I know she is being very generous with sharing with me, and her raspberry bushes are just not yielding the fruit this year like they did last year. I am savoring every single last rasp as I eat each one slowly. I don't want to share these as they are sweet treasures.

As I continue with my local eating habits, I understand so much more about how a day of rain or no rain can make the difference between only one pint of fruit to 4 pints of fruit. Because all the local berries plants are lacking production this year, I value berries so much more. I also look forward to next year in hopes of better growning conditions, and long berries' seasons. Until then, I can only look at these 2 photos as a reminder of the few days I enjoyed the berries.

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At 6/28/07, 2:38 PM, Blogger Katie Zeller said...

I do so love berries! And we don't really have them here. I have bramble berries going down to my garden. They're rather smallish blackberries, lots of seeds and not as much flavor as the ones in your picture. But, hey, it's all I've got and they're free. As long as I don't fall into the brambles trying to pick them I'm happy!
On the other hand we have the best white peaches in the world.... just so you know!

At 6/28/07, 10:08 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

The wild blackberries were quite flavorful, and the Bramble Hill Farmers (also the namesakes to your berries) spent all Friday evening to pick just 3 pints of berries in the thorny bushes. I appreciated all their efforts.

I hope your peaches are delicious! Please post about them!

At 7/3/07, 1:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am just starting the local eating thing, and am so loving the fruit season. We were promised black raspberries in our CSA boxes this week - I can't wait! I'm so sorry for the drought you've had. :(

At 7/4/07, 7:35 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Marty, congratulations on eating locally, and I hope the black raspberries are awesome! Do me a favor, eat one of your raspberries and savor it for me!


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