Blackberries: Locally Grown

In Season, Ingredient
on July 14, 2011
Blackberry Tart
Photo: Mark Boughton/Styling: Teresa Blackburn

This week, the newspaper featured new back-to-school products, one of which was a compass that fights germs. Apparently it's outfitted with an anti-microbial product on the spring that holds the two arms together. At the office, an antiseptic towelette dispenser was recently installed at the door to the restroom. Apparently it's not good enough to wash your hands—now you have to open the door with a paper towel so as not to touch it.

How does this relate to food? It's ironic the more we become a nation of germaphobes, the closer we want to eat to the farm. Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that the best food is that produced down the road, not plastic-wrapped and shipped from the opposite coast. Maybe we shouldn't worry so much about everything being packaged and uniform and unblemished, and think more about flavor and the source of our food.

Leading me to blackberries. I've been buying them at a local produce stand a couple miles from the office. I pop over there at lunch and get what veggies I need for dinner. The blackberries are "from down the road," the owner tells me, and are in cardboard pints with no wrapping—making it easy for me to pop a couple in my mouth. There are usually a few small leaves and misshapen berries amidst the big plump ones, but who cares when they taste so good. So this week it's a celebration of blackberry recipes. Of course you can make it with berries purchased from the supermarket—just make sure you wash them first.

—By Jill Melton, Relish Editor