so today i have a confession to make and a secret to share. coming, as i do, from the great white north, i used to associate california produce with rock hard, golf ball sized, white-in-the-middle strawberries, tasteless year-round asparagus, and the ubiquitous droopy bagged salad. i suppose that having access to this inferior if well traveled fresh produce was indeed preferable compared with making do with what was locally in season during the Canadian winter. i’ll leave you to contemplate on your own the consequences of that statement. but i digress.
having now lived here in california for more than three years, i have the pleasure of confidence in the best kept secret, which is that we keep all the good stuff here for ourselves. all i have to do is make a small effort to seek it out, at the farmer’s market or produce stands, each vegetable or fruit taking its turn in a natural and sunlit seasonal spotlight. each weekend i dig my crumpled bills and clinking coins out of my pocket and make the trade with the vendor for my small and colourful treasures, hardly believing my good fortune at the benevolence of the exchange. lately my obsession has been fruit; rosy cheeked rainier and jammy black cherries, musky and sweet tuscan cantaloupe; fleshy, juice dribbling nectarines and peaches. i’ve only barely recovered from strawberry season; for weeks we had been enjoying them sliced and macerated in a hint of sugar or honey, crowned with softly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, or even better, turned into ice cream themselves.
and so the new ritual; saturday farmer’s market, let the fruit ripen to perfection over the weekend, and then we all sit down on monday night after dinner and devour a huge plate of of the sweetest fruit, licking the juices from our fingers greedily.