Monday, June 6, 2016

Serviceberries are ripe

On my way home from a garden consultation in Prospect Heights (a neighborhood that I have not visited in about four years - when we looked at a very nice apartment with a waterless roofdeck, and which is changing so fast you can feel the whiplash) I saw a triangle of park dripping with ripe serviceberries. No one paid them any mind, not the birds, not the people. They were fat with purple juice. So I grazed for a while, cursing the fact that I had no nifty paper bag in my handbag. Bad forager.

I have never seen them at a greenmarket. But when I started writing about Japanese knotweed five years ago, I had never seen that at a farmers market, either. That has changed. It's now on the menu at Daniel, trickles in to greenmarkets and shows up in all sorts of wild food forums.

My message is: New York? Serviceberries are ripe. NOW! They are sweet, similar to blueberries in texture, but juicier, and with a flavor more like apples, And like marzipan when cooked. And very soon I must collect a bagful or two. I think I like them raw, best.

You're a New Yorker who thinks this fruit is dirty because it grows in a city? You grow in a city! You drink its water, breathe its air.

A surprising number of educated people have perplexing myopia when it comes to appreciating the course taken by the food they eat to reach their plate. Out of season blueberries, wrong-season raspberries and strawberries drenched in pesticides, often grown thousands of miles away, hold zero appeal for me. They are un-fruit. This is the real deal, ripe right now, and gone by next week.

Dig in.

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