Rain has a way of changing things. Not so long ago, as soon as the strawberries were ready for harvest, I visited one of our strawberry farmers in the Upstate. They were fresh out of the field, full of sweet flavor and it was hard to stop eating them. A few weeks later I was craving the taste of those beautiful red berries. I stopped in to visit another farmer, purchased a gallon and noticed they looked a little different.
I inquired as to the flavor, and the farmer said, well it’s been raining a lot, and the berries are not as sweet as they were. The right amount of rain and good sunshine helps to grow beautiful fresh strawberries. Too much rain saturates everything, even the flavor. Being the eternal optimist, I said: So, if it rains a lot and you need to watch your sugar intake, the strawberries might be better for you as they are not as sweet and have less sugar. He laughed, and said, “Well, maybe.”
The following morning, I had oatmeal with fresh raindrop strawberries with a little local honey on top, and it was delicious. Everything was just fine. The rest of them are in the freezer awaiting their participation is a future smoothie.
This week I visited the barbershop for a trim, and during my visit, as usual, all kinds of tales filled the air. About midway through the haircut, the Barber said, “So Carl, do you like lettuce and onions?” Memories from my youth immediately surfaced. I could see my Dad in the garden picking fresh tender lettuce and young onions. In most cases, my Mon would look, wash and dry them. Then she would fry some bacon and pour the hot dripping over the chopped onions and lettuce. Most of the time it was served with pork chops, mashed potatoes and a few other sides. One thing is for sure, not only did I like them, but as my parents did, I loved them.
The flavor was full of freshness and tradition. When I shared the memories, the Barber said, well I have some for you to take when you leave. He said because of all the rain, his garden was producing a lot of lettuce. I walked away with a fresh cut, fresh greens and the stirring of memories that last a lifetime.
I had enough for several salads and enough to share with others. It was a good day — I even shared the fresh lettuce with someone who had never had lettuces picked out of the garden within a few hours of eating. I made salads with the fresh lettuce and onions and added chopped walnuts, and Brushy Mountain dried apples. This combination is a real celebration of flavors.
Greenwood celebrates life with a fantastic award-winning topiary display throughout June.
The South Carolina Festival of Flowers is a joint venture with nature and countless numbers of dedicated staff, voluntaries, Master Gardners and artistic folks who fashion and form natures plants in such a way as to create recognizable animals and other things of beauty. The extra rain has not been a problem for these fantastic displays. I am sure everyone is pleased for a break in the rain for visitors. I have been many times, and it is well worth the visit to see the more than 40 topiaries. You can check them out at scfestivalofflowers.org.
In talking with a hay farmer, he said all the extra rain can be a good thing if it times out right. Farmers do a lot of praying and one admitted, we are kind of picky. We don’t like droughts, and we don’t like floods, it’s somewhere in the middle that works best. It requires a lot of hard work, dedication and lots of sunshine.
Here’s wishing for a perfect balance in life’s many harvests.