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