Category Archives: Fruit

Life Is Berry Peachy

Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, one of the best times of year was late summer when peaches came into season. Now, Georgia can go on as much as it cares to, but I doubt their peaches can hold a candle to Pennsylvania peaches. Perhaps a very small candle, like a birthday candle. Or maybe just a match. A damp one.

Anyway, my dad would buy peaches by the bushel, plump yellow peaches complete with fuzzy skin. The whole family would eat them, outside and leaning over, so we wouldn’t drown in peach juice. We ate them and ate them and ate them until the whole family had diarrhea. And it was worth it.

I’ve missed those peaches. Peaches in Japan are invariably white varieties, very juicy and sweet but unfortunately tasting only of sweet juiciness. I’ve seen yellow peaches in cans a couple of times, but even those are rare.

So imagine my surprise when the neighborhood veggie stand had yellow peaches.

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They’re some unfamiliar variety, not as sweet as Pennsylvania peaches, somewhat more tart, closer to nectarines, but I won’t split hairs. And the selfsame veggie stand also had strawberries. Mountains of strawberries. I would guess 2kg of strawberries for less than $3.

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I was suspicious.

That very veggie stand has been known to pass off some rather questionable produce, so I asked why the ruby colored gems were so cheap. The woman explained that they were restaurant quality strawberries from California, destined for strawberry shortcakes, but slightly too ripe and would need to be consumed ASAP.

I hesitated.

California? Most likely they were raised on Monsanto genetically modified fracking chromium. But when was the last time you got to gorge yourself on strawberries at the end of August? I always have to bid those glowing embers of heaven’s bonfire a tearful farewell in late spring and pine for them over the next ten months.

So I bought them. And the peaches. And picked over them to see which were most in need of immediate consumption. Those that didn’t survive the culinary culling made their way into a tart, a tart the likes of which all other tarts will strive to equal.

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As my very wise friend and mentor Meditation Cat has so wisely said, it is the unexpected that makes life so spicy. Or something like that. Blueberries a few weeks ago, then nectarines and now strawberries and peaches. Things could be a whole lot worse.

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The Path to Heaven is Paved with Blueberries

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In my opinion, there are few alimentary pleasures in the world greater than the almighty blueberry. It is a perfect little orb of delightful sweetness. Its delicate skin resists the teeth ever so slightly, teasing the palate and then exploding with juicy joy.

For many years, I had to live without them. They just weren’t available except at high end department stores where they cost just over the total of Greece’s national debt. You’d occasionally get a piece of cake with a blueberry or two on it but that was the extent of it.

Then a few years ago, they started becoming available all year. They travel well and it’s always mid-summer somewhere. I’ve bought blueberries from Chile, Argentina, Canada, New Zealand, the US. But even those come in tiny boxes and cost…let’s say the national debt of Romania.

I sigh for American supermarkets where they practically give the dear things away.

blueberries in USPhoto by Marcellie  Used with permission.

So when I saw that Rodger was leading a Meet Up to pick blueberries, I jumped on the bandwagon.

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There were about twenty of us, a very nice group of people from all over.

blueberry crew

That’s me at the front crouched over, wearing my Cookie Monster hat and very cool retro RayBan shades.

Three trains and a bus got us to the “Yours Garden” farm where we paid about $20 to eat as many of the spherical delights as we could manage as well as pick about a kilo of them to take home. We were each given a plastic basket and then the farmer parted the mesh gates to heaven.

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It was blistering hot but it had rained the day before so the little round morsels of perfection were plump and juicy. Row after row of ripening perfection stretched into the distance. As I approached each new bush the lovely purple gems practically called out: “Pick me! Pick me!” It was gym class for fruit. The berries flew off the stems, half into my basket and half into my mouth, the occasional tart one easily forgiven by the next bite of sweet perfection.

When my basket was full, my lips starting to pucker and I looked like this…

Violet blueberry…I decided I was done.

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The fruit of my labor. Nyar nyar nyar.

There were blueberry pancakes for Sunday breakfast and a lovely blueberry cobbler is cobbling in the oven as I type.

Ah, rapture. Thy name is blueberry.