Friday, 20 August 2010

A picking perspective

When you grow your own food there is never anything tastier than the first picking of a particular crop... the first strawberry in June, the freshest first pea, the tastiest new potato. This seems to be a combination between the build up of anticipation as we watch a crop mature, the fact that we have not tasted a homegrown version of it for almost a year and some physical reality that the first is always the freshest and juiciest of the bunch.

This is certainly the case with peas and mangetout where the first ones are truly delicious and the last ones are... well... full of fibre and definitely good for you... but somewhat lacking on the enjoyment front! Then there are other crops, such as courgettes, where the first ones, fried simply with a bit of garlic and ginger are delicious but three months later we are so sick of the sight of courgettes we quite frankly need a nine month break before tasting another one.

There is another similar phenomenon that comes with the quantity of a crop that is available. The first few raspberries are picked with care and each one enjoyed. But a few weeks later when you have been picking punnets of raspberries once every three days you find that if you accidentally drop one whilst picking you don't even bother to bend down to pick it up. Not so the few blueberries from my blueberry bush where each one was carefully placed in a bag and retrieved when dropped if necessary.

We have just been away on holiday for three weeks and we took with us some freshly picked peas and mangetout, a few French beans and 4 courgettes. These ran out during the first week away so then we had to buy vegetables. On our return, whilst my parents and Sue had become sick of the sight of courgettes and fairly fed up with French beans, we were back to first picking perspective and once again enjoying our crops as if they were the first of the year. My mum was telling me about all the raspberries they had picked whilst we were away and how many ways they had been eating them. "Oh, do you like raspberries?" asked Steve. "Used to," my dad replied, which sums it up really!

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