Berries are seriously the best thing about summer–at least they used to be. One of my favorite memories of food-loving past is picking blackberries right off the vine, popping a few singles whilst collecting some pints to take home for a cobbler or shortcake. They were sweet, slightly tart and altogether perfect.
Berries in New York, on the other hand, are bunk.
Several years ago, I accepted the sad fact that blackberries in New York are not blackberries. Sure they look similar, but the sour one-notes available here are hardly reminiscent of the berries I remember. However, with strawberries currently ubiquitous at the farmer’s market, I thought making shortcakes for a friend’s cook-out this weekend was a sure thing.
I had high hopes for my farm fresh berries. Other blogs seem all a twitter with talk of strawberries present at local markets. Union Square didn’t disappoint with choices & while I can’t remember which farm I ultimately selected, I can say I thought I picked some the best looking still around at the end of the day.
What I ended up with was a few handfuls of sour berries, several rotten, foul-tasting abominations and a lot of mushy over-ripe wastes. Maybe they would have been fine cooked in a cobbler, but for my dream of fresh berries on fluffy, warm sweet biscuits and home-made whipped cream they were pretty disappointing. I saved them by macerating with plenty of sugar and lemon thyme, straight from my fire escape. Still, I can’t help feeling sorry for anyone that thinks berry season in New York is anything but a waste of some cardboard containers.