Okay, no excuses here. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do with this blog. Of course, every time someone says, “no excuses,” they follow it with a litany of what they deem to be perfectly valid, person-specific excuses that exempt them from the culpability that would apply to mortals. I’m no better; since my last post when I was lamenting the possible ruination of my raspberry crop, I spent most of the month of May either in Austin, Texas or Shenfield, England. When I returned, it was early onset summer; my tomatoes were still in temporary accommodations, the radishes were popping out of the ground, and the lettuces were bolting.

I spent two weeks hurriedly trying to get all my warm weather plants and seeds in their appropriate homes while picking, eating, and freezing as many locally grown strawberries as I could. Of course, there are now sugar snap peas to finally harvest, daily motivational talks with the carrots, onions, and garlic, which seem to be underachievers. There should have been a few day’s breathing time before the raspberries, but everything is early and there is a ridiculous riot of red raspberries. They are incredibly tasty and exquisitely beautiful.

looking down at two of the four rows

close-up of this year’s harvest

and from a wider perspective

If you just saunter down one of the rows, you’ll see a number of plump, bright red berries smiling back at you, but you don’t get the full impact until you get up close and personal. You need to peer beneath their outer garments — invade their privacy — and only then do they surrender their real treasure. They want you to bend and stoop to reach to really wonderful ones. . . labor that it well worth it!

These are an ever bearing variety, which will give you a supposedly small harvest from the old canes in July, and a larger harvest from the new canes from September until frost. Except for last year when first frost was exceedingly late, I’ve never enjoyed the late harvest. I’ve watched the new canes shoot up, bloom, bear, and then get nipped before they could ripen. Hopefully, with this summer coming early, we’ll not be thwarted.

capitalism on the stockade

But even if I am, I doubt that I’ll suffer too much. We’re about a week into picking the early harvest and already I’ve made two batches of jam and have frozen about seven quarts that I’ll use when I have time for more jam, sauces, vinegars, sorbets, and more. I’ve been toying with ideas on how to make this a modest capitalistic venture. With two to three quarts a day, surely there might be a way to sell some of the excess. If I lived anywhere other than Stockade Rd., that might be possible. You see people putting out their excess produce on card tables next to the road along with a cash box and a little sign. However, my road is a circle with no traffic other than my neighbors and friends who are already the natural and appropriate beneficiaries of my excess produce. You can’t sell to your neighbors. I could move off the circle to find a better marketing site, but that would require leaving the berry patch and dear friends. Hmmm. . . probably not a good strategy.

in a jam

In Connecticut, farm stands are allowed to sell home-made jams and jellies — ones that have been prepared in kitchens that have not been government inspected . That’s because it’s virtually impossible to sicken anyone with canned jellies and jams — there’s too much sugar and acid for anything malevolent to grow. Once I reach my quota of raspberry jam needed for personal use and gift giving, I may try hawking my wares to the several farm stands here in Glastonbury. I’m working on a spiffy label and packaging that is attractive while not driving up the cost of goods beyond profitability. Stay tuned for future installments of this mercenary saga.