The Raspberry Man cometh. On our way to Carter’s speech therapy Monday we passed the familiar and much-anticipated sign. It is a white sandwich board with three or four large time-faded raspberries stenciled on the top. Below it the crucial detail – location. All the way to Carter’s appointment, we cheered and made up wonderfully rhyming simple songs about raspberries and the man who provides them.
“The Raspberry Man The Raspberry Man Growing raspberries like nobody can!”
We worried that he would not be there when we returned and I did consider making the therapist wait just so we could pick up some delicious goodness in a box. We were quite happy when we returned later that day and he was still there.
Perhaps I must explain.
I imagine most people have a special “something” they look forward to; Opening Day of baseball, Labor Day cook outs with family and friends, Christmas. I have several of these most treasured times scattered throughout my yearly calendar. One of them is the start of raspberry season. Ahh, my most favorite berry. The season is short and rather unpredictable here in the Pacific Northwest. They are a finicky berry that require a spring and summer that are not too hot or too dry or too wet; the last one being our problem. Since they are so soft they do not ship well and are susceptible to bruising, spoiling and all around general mushyness, their price tag in the grocery store is high. I have been sorely disappointed every time I break down and buy them in the store.
But the Raspberry Man never disappoints. His berries are picked fresh the morning you buy them. They are grown organically. They are fabulous! He charges $22 a flat and $11 something for half a flat. I don’t know the half flat price because I have never bought so few at a time. The thing about the Raspberry Man is his location. He sells his wares out of the back of his little green pickup truck. Four years ago, when I first discovered him, he was parked in an empty dirt lot by the side of the road a couple of miles from our house. He was there for two seasons until someone rudely purchased the lot and built an office building. He does not advertise other than putting out the sandwich boards by the side of the road near where he is selling his berries so it is a trick to find him. Last year he was in the parking lot of a garden nursery which had the nerve to go out of business and put a fence around the property. Last year we almost missed him. Three weeks time, give or take depending on the season and crop, is all you have to track him down and then *poof* he is gone.
This year we found him on the first day of the first week of the season. I have great hope of actually making something with the berries, jam, tarts, pies, something this year. I always have this hope but we instead we buy a flat, gorge ourselves, buy more, gorge ourselves and repeat. I will let you know if we break this cycle, but don’t hold your breath.
Does anyone else out there love raspberries as much as I, or is it just me?