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Odd spring weather makes me berry sad in summer

July 27th, 2007 · 7 Comments · Food selection, local food

I’m missing local raspberries. A lot. They, like most other local fruit, got clobbered this spring when an extended early-spring warm period was followed by an extended late-spring cold spell, and I mean cold as in the teens. Then the rains came, and a few strawberries that survived the cold got drowned.

Except for isolated spots, the fruit crops were finished. Not just here in eastern Kansas but across Missouri and into Kentucky and parts beyond. Cherry, peach and apple blossoms froze. Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, grapes zapped. Buds on nut trees withered, too.

No local fruit. No regional fruit, either.

Here in Lawrence, blackberries are about the only thing that survived. I want to like blackberries, but they just don’t do it for me. Now that it’s high summer, we are getting some melons, thank goodness, but I want raspberries.

I finally bought a little half-pint packet at the supermarket to satisfy my craving. I should have known better. They did not look like these:

Raspberries, unlike the ones I bought, in a small white bowl

They had the beautiful raspberry color, and they were probably more succulent-looking than the local ones would have been. Alas, they lacked the tang and the firm texture of fresh-from-the-brambles berries. Many, in fact, were downright squishy and some had spots of mold. I ate what I could and tossed the bad ones, two or three dollars poorer and still unsatisfied.

Knowing that raspberry rapture is a fleeting thing in the summer, I’ll survive. I don’t know what I’m going to do at apple time, though. I get early apples, midseason apples, late apples, snacking apples and baking apples, tart apples and sweet apples.

This year, I guess, I’ll get apples in the supermarket, and they’ll be better apples than those raspberries were good raspberries. But they won’t be the same as the local ones, and I miss them already.

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