Saturday, July 24, 2010

Summer Raspberries

Summertime and my thoughts turn to childhood vacations in Door County, Wisconsin. Every July we piled into the station wagon and made the 10 hour trip north to share a week with family and friends in a lakeside cottage. My memories include not only learning to sail and swimming in ice cold Lake Michigan, but also playing hide-and-seek among the pine trees and shopping for souvenirs on rainy days. Ours was always a simple vacation with no tv, mostly homecooked meals, long "Happy Hours" for the adults, and late nights for the kids.
Of all the things I remember about driving to Wisconsin, I remember how I always anticipated one of our first stops after we got to Door County. Before we even checked into the cottage, we stopped at a roadside produce market for fresh fruits and vegetables and especially for one of my raspberries! Sure, Door County is known for its cherries, but for me, the raspberries were always the reward at the end of the long drive. Maybe it was because they almost looked like candy or maybe it was because they seemed hard to get, but raspberries were my fruit of choice.
It seems today as if raspberries are a little easier to buy. We have the traditional summer season, but we also have the fall season of the everbearing variety. They're still a little tricky to grow as they need full sun and just the right amount of water as too much moisture leads to fungus and other problems. Raspberries are soft, bruise easily, spoil quickly, and don't ship well. As a result, they're considered relatively expensive compared to other fruits. Also, as a result, we don't always have them at Daisy Mae's Market at Findlay Market. The raspberries must be fresh when we buy them, and we need to sell them in a day or two as they are extremely perishable.
So my advice to you is, "When you see raspberries, grab them." They are rich in iron, potassium, and Vitamins A and C, and they are a good source of fiber. Try to eat them right away, but definitely refrigerate them as soon as possible. They are just too good to let them spoil.
Fresh raspberries are like so many things in life...The things you want most are often the things most difficult to get.

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