-James Thomson*, Summer
I thought blackberries were, by definition, tart. While on vacation in Bayfield, WI, I ate the sweetest blackberries I've ever encountered: piled plain in bowls at Egg Toss Bakery Cafe, mixed with blueberries, etc. in a berry pie at Maggie's, and (also at Maggie's) fashioned into blackberry shortcake.
Early in the summer, Kenneth asked if anyone ever made blueberry or blackberry shortcake. I answered, "Sure..." with a very California-inflected opinion that a cook can retool any old recipe. And without any notion that I would ever retool strawberry shortcake. Maggie's answered Kenny's question with more delicious gusto than I could imagine. On our way out of town, we stopped by a berry farm which to our surprise was run by the priest who preached at Bayfield's Christ Episcopal the previous Sunday. His comments on sustainable farming suddenly had a whole new context. Last night, I sustained the pleasures of Bayfield just a little longer with my own humble version of blackberry shortcake.
Oh that I could somehow let every reader sample just one of these berries: they are so so sweet and delicate.
*Thomson is one of my favorite poets. Initially, I found him to be impenetrable and boring, but now his verses makes me weep...