Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Berry Picking and a Day of Putting Up

As I'm sure I've mentioned one million times, I missed raspberry season this year. It was early because of the heat, short because of the rain, and I just missed it completely. Raspberries are one of my favorite foods, and I used to purchase 20 frozen bags of raspberries per year to mix with yogurt or granola, bake into fruit crumbles, or just eat like candy.

I now understand that these raspberries from Dole are grown in Chile or somewhere equally far from home, by people who make 20 dollars a week, on land that should be used to grow food for people nearby. I understand that the price of 4$ per half gallon is artificially low, paid for by government subsidy and human exploitation.

SO: raspberries have become a luxury. You can imagine, then, how horribly sad I was to have missed them. Particularly because most farmers I spoke with don't expect a fall crop this year either because of weather. I've been calling U Pick berry farms in the county, and most are closed this year because the season is so bad, but I finally found an open one at Reilly's Summer Seat Farm!

Alex and I picked six pints of raspberries today and two pints of blackberries!! It was a berry miracle. It was hard work, so I understand why the berries are so expensive at market. The ones we picked ourselves were still expensive, since these berries are pretty much the only game in town, but so worth it. I made four pints of raspberry jam today (out of half pint jam jars as per usual) and one pint of blackberry. They look glorious cooling on the counter.

I also needed to deal with the abundance I bought at the market yesterday, so I cooked and froze 12 ears of corn (just the kernels,) and put together a pico de gallo salsa for the freezer. I had a lot of cilantro left, so I hung one bunch to dry, and chopped and froze the other in ice cube trays to be added to soups and indian dishes all year.

I still need to deal with another 6 ear of corn we bought today, and a dozen HOT red chile peppers that I think I'll roast and freeze to add heat to dishes all winter. I had a terrible time drying peppers last year - our air is too damp. It broke my heart to toss them when they molded.

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