On the side of the road

Big, plum, juicy, sweet blackberries

Big, plum, juicy, sweet blackberries

How delightful is it to run across wild blackberries on the side of the road? How about a cherry plum tree? I was visiting one of my best friends, A, in San Francisco when we took a trip to Muir Woods on a Sunday afternoon. The place was pretty packed, especially the parking lots, so we parked on the side of a twisty and windy road…right next to blackberry bushes. We already ate our fill at the farmer’s market that morning, but that didn’t stop us from picking a few handfuls. It reminded me of the blackberry bush my family discovered one summer in the back yard. It was a tasty few weeks of blackberries and ice cream, blackberry tarts, and purple fingers.

I’m just going to take a minute and tell you how much I love farmer’s markets. Not only do I get to support local growers, but there’s just a sea of fresh produce all over the place. This farmer’s market even had tasties (ya know, like the plates of cut up fruit and whot-not at the grocery store that qualifies as lunch on a Saturday. My boyfriend and I call those tasties). Ever single stall selling any peaches or plums had pieces cut up to try before you buy. Another stall was happy to let us taste the cherry tomatoes. One grower had a pile of chestnuts. I love chestnuts, but I only ever see them in the fall. This grower handed us each a big plump, juicy and sweet blackberry as he explained he kept his chestnuts in cold storage and sold them all summer until he ran out. We chatted for a bit with this nice gentleman, who also fed us these delectable little plums: “Cherry plums, you know, like from the Nutcracker, ‘Cherry Plum Fairies.’ I guess they’re Sugar Plum Fairies, actually.” These plums may well have been called sugar plums, they were so so sweet!

Wild cherry plums, so sweet!

Wild cherry plums, so sweet!

If A and I hadn’t stopped at this stall, we wouldn’t have know what to call the tree that stood right next to the blackberry bush, the one we didn’t notice until we got back after the hike around Muir Woods. We were running late to pick up my boyfriend in the city, so we gathered as many as we could off the tree and tossed them into the cup holder in the car, eating them as we drove along.

Since I’m hoping to post these photos to a food porn website, I feel like I should provide a recipe. I think I’ll go with the mixed berry pie I made a few weeks before we left. After all, it did contain blackberries (but not plums). I used frozen blackberries, raspberries and blueberries because that what I could find. I mashed up the berries a bit with a potato masher, just so I could fit more in the pie. Use any combination you want (I’m sure the plums would have been a lovely addition), just make sure it only goes up to the level of the crust, but not over. Otherwise, there will be a big mess in your oven 45 minutes into baking.

One quart of mixed fruit, mashed a little.
1/2 c sugar (white or raw)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2T flour
Dash of cinnamon and nutmeg.

Mix all ingredients, pour into a pie crust (recipe and pointers here), drape strips of pie crust over the top to make a lattice. Brush top with a beaten egg. Bake at 350 until bubbling in the middle.

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Published in: on August 5, 2008 at 11:27 am  Leave a Comment  
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