By Kerri Conan
The garden has been behaving so strangely this year that we actually ate the last blackberry before the first tomato. Let me tell you: plucking that final berry was a big bummer.
I usually roll with the ebb and flow of the seasons and never get too attached to any one crop. But without tomatoes to pick up the slack a juiciness vacuum suddenly loomed large. I looked down at the handful of motley berries in my colander and made one last pass through the patch, lifting branches, looking for one more that might have eluded my glance. Funny how wacky weather makes you pay more attention to every bite.
We had a good run of it, the blackberries and I. They came on gradually, never producing more than a pint or so a day for two or three weeks. Might seem like a lot, but if you’re going to make jam or preserves you need a few quarts all at a one time. We ate them like candy from a bowl in the fridge and set them on the table to garnish salads, tacos, or bowls of cereal. I warmed them in the microwave with brown rice and chiles for breakfast. One week, we hoarded enough to make an incredible batch of sorbet (sorry, no photos; it was nighttime), sweetened only with local clover honey. A batch of oozy turnovers were repurposed into homemade Pop-tarts for the freezer. Good eating to be sure, but before we knew it they were gone. And we never had chance to make another blackberry pizza.