Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Summer lovin'

One thing I love about summer is the fruit. The fresh bounty available this time of year brings back so many wonderful memories!

Blackberries always make me think of my paternal grandma - a woman of quiet, unending energy, who continued to physically sweep her roof free of pine needles into her early eighties. She walked many miles on even the dreariest of northwest days, and when my sister and I were with her, we walked too. Summer added a special sweetness to those walks since our route was lined with wild blackberry bushes which we collected with gusto, despite the aggressive thorns.

The unusual dragon fruit, though not especially sweet, appeared in most every yard and breakfast table on our summer trip to Vietnam to pick up our sweet Reagan.

Blueberries grew on three huge bushes lining the property of my childhood home. We anxiously anticipated the day that the Seattle sun would finally emerge and ripen the fruit. Only a small portion of the berries ever made it into the bowls my mom provided for collection, but somehow she still managed to create the most delicious of cobblers. Even now, 15 years later (!) my palate is still too spoiled by the memory of fresh blueberries to really enjoy the store-bought variety.

Raspberries also grew in our yard, but were a little sun-starved, so each berry was especially cherished. They were never bountiful enough for baking and I don't think even one ever made it inside for rinsing.

Our strawberries were always enjoyed first by the slugs, so my childhood strawberry memories are associated with the local pick-and-pay. I still wonder how inflated the prices much have been to compensate for all the gems we consumed before the cashier's desk. Strawberries are also associated in my memory with my college cafeteria. It was able to redeem itself for the meat-that-made-me-a-vegetarian through an annual strawberry fest. I can think of almost nothing better than the tables piled high with the red fruit surrounded by vats of chocolate.

As his very favorite food in the world, watermelon will forever be associated with Parker. Perhaps this preference for melon over ice cream, pizza, or any other high-calorie food explains why he's holding steady at just 30 pounds.

Do you have any summer fruit memories? Please share while I go enjoy a bowl of cherries... oh yeah, cherries: the fruit I can only enjoy fresh (nothing cherry-flavored please) and preferably warm. Each summer on our way to our lake vacation in eastern Washington our family would stop at the Haas family fruit stand where we would purchase boxes and boxes of them from the ancient Mrs. Haas who always seemed to have just returned from picking a fresh flat in the orchard. Yum!!!


Anonymous said...

How fun for a Mom to know her children have good memories from their childhood. And, yes, Grandma Vance was one of the last wonderfully old-fashioned grandmas--she blessed our lives immensely.
Thanks, again, for spending some of your very busy day to keep this blog--it should be published!!

Love, Mom

Dania Efird said...

I don't have any fruit memories, but at both sets of grandparents in the summer there were huge gardens. i remember helping to plant, weed, pull of worms, pick and eat all kinds of fresh veggies!

Anonymous said...


Jenny M. said...

Love the memories Laura! I have to admit growing up in LA pales in comparison to now living in Yakima when it comes to eating produce! We are so spoiled here with an abundance of FRESH (key word) fruits and veggies. I long for summer now so I can shop at our local produce stand...stuff is usually picked the same day and so much cheaper.

Great post! Brian says he remembers the blackberries too...I better get those cobbler recipes from your Mom!

Love, Jenny