Monday, February 20, 2012

Blackberry Season

When I arrived in the Río Azul valley outside El Bolsón it was midsummer. Nights were cool, but the days heated up as soon as the sun hit. I made a habit of dunking myself in the swift, clear glacier-fed river at least once a day, during siesta, and sometimes before dinner as well. But in the last couple of weeks fogs have stuck longer on the hillsides and days of heavy drizzle have kept us hunched in the community kitchen over our yerba mate. But the clearest sign that late summer has arrived are the blackberries. Their ripening has made apparent their abundance in the valley. We live on a natural blackberry plantation. Walking the 200 yards from the cabin where I sleep to the community kitchen is now often a 15-minute adventure, wending a new path every time through the heavy-laden bushes. And my siesta repertoire--read, write, sit, swim, yoga--has expanded to include a ramble through farther-flung bushes. Pick blackberries often enough and you become a connoisseur: the best bunches, the least thorny access points, the ripest shade of black.
Now, whenever we fire up the barrel oven we make some sort of blackberry dessert. Last week we had an amazing cobbler. This week it was a delicious unsweetened pie (unsweetened because Rachel, who went up the hill to her house to get sugar, ended up taking a nap instead).
A caution, though: too many blackberries leads to silliness.

Thank you, by the way, to all those who checked in with me by email and blog comments. If you haven't yet, please still feel welcome to say hello. And I will get to work on photographing the farm and writing some stories of my rich experiences here.

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