Sunday, April 22, 2012
We’re jamming……strawberry jamming.
Musings on small farm living.
So why am I standing at the kitchen counter, blurry eyed at 9 o’clock at night, sorting and chopping organic strawberries, when I should be tucked up on the sofa falling asleep over the latest Katie Fforde? ( I also have several highbrow novels and some very interesting and challenging metaphysical reading lined up, but Katie Fforde wins out after a normal day with three children, four dogs, three cats all needing various forms of attention). Well, leaving the city for the country life and a bit of land, you decide to grow something, 'cos otherwise you’re just a city slicker pretending to be a country person - like “all the others are tourists but I’m a cultured visitor “ mentality. Anyway, so twelve strawberry plants, four years on have now become a commercial (sort of) organic growing business and, two months of the year, my evenings are spent making jam. The best strawberries get sold straight, no probs, but there are half as much again that are rejected due to no fault of their own, a peck mark, slight deformity or whatnot, and what am I going to do with them.
The trouble is living on a farm somehow brings out all the traditional frugal qualities of our ancestors – waste not want not – everything must be preserved, frozen, used profitably or else why did you put so much effort into growing them in the first place. So you can’t lob 3 kilos of seconds into the bin, put it out for the rubbish collectors and forget about it. For a start there are no rubbish collectors, it’ll sit there reproachfully until composted, attracting fruit flies, or else the chickens will get drunk on fermenting fruit……… so yummy delicious strawberry jam is the result.
So chopping strawberries, brain disengaged, do I think how lucky to be surrounded by so much luscious, decadent, fragrant fruit, or that I could never get excited about them again? Are the chickens going to start laying strawberry flavoured eggs soon from all the rejected rejects, and if so should I start making strawberry soufflé? Looking at the chakra pages on http://www.aflowergallery.com where a red flower is the first chakra, is the strawberry the first fruit chakra? And if so what are all the others….orange – oranges, easy….yellow – lemons or bananas….green – apples ….we’re doing good…..now it gets harder….blue…hmmm..cliché blueberries (definitely not Smurf blue but still blue)….indigo..are damsons indigo? Or mulberries (my fingers and the children’s clothes usually turn more of a burgundy colour after harvesting them)…what about violet…I’m getting stuck now and rambling madly off the subject, what was it?
Strawberries and chakras, which leads to health – what did Margaret Roberts say strawberries were good for…skin…well my two year old daughter used to help pick strawberries last year, until two weeks into the season she came out in a massive skin rash due to excessive overindulgence causing an allergic sensitivity, so I won’t be rubbing strawberries into her skin. Rich in antioxidants, killing viruses, lowering blood pressure, helping fight cancer – sounds like a miracle fruit to me. I think I need to be more respectful of them, after all, who can complain of evenings spent in such worthwhile company.
Copyright Kit Heathcock