January 11, 2021
You’ve made your point. Great effort, and trust me, it’s appreciated. You’ve outdone yourselves this year and produced the best crop we’ve ever had, but truly, I won’t mind if you ease up a little now. I won’t be offended. Honestly. It’s always great when the first luscious berries on your bushes ripen, and eating them is always a joy. But after a month or more, I’m a little over the need to don a long-sleeved top each morning in order to brave the vicious thorns and prickles that are the decided downside of harvesting your delicious fruit. The scratches and splinters on my hands and forearms are testimony to this painful reality, so a month on, while production has definitely slowed up, I confess to looking forward to the day – like never before – when I can call it quits, leave the tiny few berries that are left to the birds, and devote an hour or so to removing splinters with a sterilised needle.
I could, of course, have called it quits days ago. After all, the freezer is already well stocked with your largesse – and thank you, we certainly won’t be running out of berries for winter crumbles this season – jars of jam line the pantry shelves; friends and neighbours have all been grateful recipients of your bounty; and we’ve happily gorged on your berries every day for weeks. But despite all this preserving, and laying down for winter months ahead, my northern hemisphere upbringing won’t allow me to just ignore the late ripening fruit still gracing your bushes. Perhaps it’s a case of genetic memory when winters were longer, and more severe than they are in Tasmania, and the need to preserve and store food was greater.
Whatever, harvesting produce will be part of my life for the next few months, since when your berries finally finish, your raspberry relatives will still be producing. So will your cousins, the wild blackberries. Hot on the heels of all the berry family will be the tomatoes. And then the apples and pears. And so the year turns.