The tomato had been complaining that life on the terrace was too quiet and so, to broaden its horizons, I took it for an outing to the little park between the bridges in DUMBO. With the temporarily suspended subways rattling overhead as they cross the East River-which-is-a-strait on the Manhattan Bridge, this is possibly the noisiest park in the world. All conversation must be accomplished in the lulls between trains. Tomatoes must hold their little yellow tongues.
The tomato, a seedling that came up from last year's fallen Mexican heirloom cherry tomatoes, was one of four that I rescued and potted in the spring. Now it was ready for the handover to Ellen, who met me at the park, berry bags and picnic at the ready.
A very important part of this picnic was this: Silver Berry wine, vintage 2009. Made by Ellen from the fruit of the Autumn olive (pernicious weed and maker of heavenly berries, apparently) it was uncorked, sniffed suspiciously by the cellar mistress, and decanted.
It was the first non-grape wine I have ever drunk, and I've waited a long time. Pretty much ever since reading Cider with Rosie as a little girl. Dry, fragrant - but of a scent I do not know - reminding me of cider, but also of sauvignon blanc. And decidedly alcoholic. Delishish.
To accompany the sheeps' milk cheese ('Ewephoria') that she had bought, Ellen produced her sweet chile jelly, which reminded me a lot of the one Vince and I enjoyed at the 2 Goats Deli in Nieu Bethesda.
My pork belly rillettes were decent (finished at 1am this morning after seriously long cooking) fatty and creamy enough, but I think next time I'll add some juniper berries.
I brought the last of the field garlic pickles. I wish I'd made more.
And then on to the main event.
I picked here two weeks ago, and now the low trees were loaded with soft purple fruit, whereas then they had been mostly scarlet. I like the flavour of both. Red is still sweet, but purple is very juicy.
Vince arrived on cue, camera in hand, to shoot pictures for later use.
And we made friends with curious strangers.
Eventually, sticky and full of sweet berries, we called it off, and I must now decide what to do with the haul sitting in the fridge. Pie? Maybe. Ooh: Individual, little pies, like mince pies. Yes, that's it. And It. Ellen also gave me a delightful little jar of It jelly, that she'd made from the leftover red fruits after she'd made It last year.
And then home through the cobbled streets, up the hill, along the Promenade, under the tilia blossoms just opened, up the stairs, into the little apartment.
And onto the terrace, to give everything a good drink.