Remember how I told you that at the end of June, the berries in Prospect Park were due to be ripe for the picking? Apparently not, since you’ve left me bushes full of them. Or — perhaps — I suppose I could have tried to describe where in the park these bushes were. Ah well. My oversight. Tee-hee.
Speaking of crops in the unlikeliest of big cities, I’m fascinated by this BBC News article, which describes a “vertical farming” project that scientists at Columbia University have conceptualized for downtown Manhattan. Just think what wonders it could do for 100-mile dieters! It’s a long shot, but if you agree that it may be a good idea, then blog about it, or help spread the word. Then afterward, don’t forget to vote for your favorite New York farmer before November.
I like to think of summer as a time when I shed the winter flab garnered through creamy pounds of pasta and beefy stews to shield against an intolerably cold city and morph into fit-as-fiddle me, the welcome alter-ego who will sometimes forego ice cream for just the fresh berry topping. The fit-as-fiddle me emerges from shellacked-in-flab me by sweating in the sun every spare chance she can. This is exacerbated by biking laps in Prospect Park on the weekends — and, probably, eradicated by drinking cases of beer, as well. Oh well. I love the summer here.
So as I was biking said laps in Prospect Park this weekend, it was a beautiful moment when I sped past a certain spot and my thoughts of food suddenly collided with the memory of the berries — the berries! I skidded off the main path and found the bushes on a small walking trail in no time. Most of their berries were just turning a bright cherry red hue, underripe for the black raspberries that they were. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a camera on hand, but if I had, I would have caught many images of one swollen, ripe purple berry at the center of a cluster of lighter pink-to-red berries on one bramble. In another week, these berries will be at their prime. But for now, I managed to pluck a range of deep-red to black pearl-black ones and tossed them into a rinsed-out yogurt drink container.
Oh, and people did think I was nuts.
“Why are you picking them berries?” A voice behind me called. It belonged to a teenage boy sitting by the pond with a teenage girl. I had to look beyond a low wire fence and cluster of bushes to locate it.
“Because they’re good,” I told him.
“You can eat them?”
“Yeah — they’re raspberries. See?” I tried to get close enough to the fence to toss a berry or pass it over to the couple, but they quickly shook their heads indicating they didn’t want it.
“I was just wondering if you could eat them, that’s all.”
As I continued collecting ripe berries in my yogurt container, I could hear the couple musing to themselves on the incredulity of eating something found in the wild. I can’t remember exactly what they said, but I heard something like, “if I were lost and starving, like in these woods, then maybe… maybe.”
Hm, I think that’s what I’ll call the tart I make with these berries tonight: Lost and Starving Delight.