i’m just back from picking strawberries on an overcast morning, so i’m simultaneously blissful and unrushed, so it seemed like a good time to get back around to my website. there was a technical issue last season, some hackers from eastern europe hacked my website and it became less than useful for a while, but now it is back. the strawberries came in 3 weeks ago, and the rhubarb too, so jam season is rolling into high gear before it’s usually started.
last season was a week or 10 days early, strawberries were in around April 22 instead of May 1, but the warm spring seems like it’s another week earlier this year, with berries coming in April 14th at Chiles in Greenwood. this means we could see blueberries, raspberries, cherries and apricots, which are usually the first half of June, trickling in during the second half of May, which is only 2 or 3 weeks away. i guess we could see peaches in early to mid june, figs in late june, plums around then too.an early season is fabulous for me, since i’m obsessed enough about the fruit to be right on top of it; i can’t afford to let the early appearance of a fruit catch me by surprise, and the farmers are always happy to see me come picking early and often.
i’m working on my jam photography this year, and looking forward to a beautiful season. i’ve taken some time to be thankful this winter, for this community, this chance to do what i love, having the days outside and the nights in the steamy kitchen, packing a season’s worth of Virginia sunshine into identical glass jars, and then bringing it to whoever shows up at the farmers market. it validates an important human urge, to find food outside of a refrigerated case or an air-conditioned aisle, and it lets me and my fellow producers create food of an uncommon quality and variety, and interact face-to-face with the people who eat it. we are so blessed.
also, for those of you who haven’t yet heard about it, there’s a great series of table-to-farm dinners going on in central Virginia right now, by the name of Hill and Holler, curated by Tracey Love, and unless you were there with us last night, you just missed a great winemaker’s dinner at Blenheim Vineyard with chef Tucker Yoder of the Clifton Inn, 5 courses with wine pairings; 42 people at one long table on a hilltop as the sun set. i saw Sarah and Andrea of Beyond the Flavor at the table with other guests and producers, snapping away with their cameras, so there’ll probably be mention of the while thing on their website soon enough, with some beautiful pictures.
as a final thought from jam land, lets all hope the strawberries don’t burn up in the end of May the way they did last year, or even earlier than that. weather instability is scary, especially since food can’t go inside and turn on the air conditioner when it is growing in a field, the way we can when we’re tired of being out there. so, for the time being, i’m picking in Roseland and Greenwood almost daily, and trying to keep up with the season before it gets weird.
I’ll be at the market this week, and for the next 34 weeks, or until i run out of fruit. flavors are: strawberry + thai basil, rhubarb, raspberry rhubarb, strawberry rhubarb, strawberry jam, strawberry lavender, strawberry chocolate mint, strawberry lime, and rhubarb lime… maybe some rhubarb ginger.