Blackberry Fields Forever

On Sunday, I went berry picking for the first time, with my mom and younger sister. We went to a farm down in Watsonville, about an hour north of Monterey. It’s a sleepy city of cherry fields and vineyards and country roads, and we were surprised at how much fun we had, laughing together as we plucked ripe berries from the bush.

Me and my baby sister, trying to act casual for a “candid.”

We were tickled pink with surprise at learning that unripe blackberries are like little hard raspberries. And finding the blackest, softest fruits nestled in under a shady branch was like discovering a secret treasure.  We don’t often get the chance to connect with our food in this way, and it felt luxurious to take home a bounty that we picked ourselves. Picking that fruit made my inner child glow with the sense of creativity sparked only by nature.

Before heading back, we stopped downtown Watsonville at a Mexican restaurant called La Perla Del Pacifico, known for its seafood. My sister had tacos, my mom, a vegan, had beans and rice and veggies, and I had sopa de 7 mares (a seafood soup). It was homey and comforting and just right.

Not pictured, the sucker-y octopus bits. Yummy!

That evening I made a cobbler, inky juice staining my fingers as I set the berries to macerate in sugar for half an hour. It turned out buttery and golden and speckled with a generous smattering of berries. And the next day, I made my very first jar of jam. A sticky, sweet, tart, and maybe-too-gummy jam that was perfect in this morning’s PB&J. I made jam! All by myself! (Well, with the help of this recipe). I’m excited to perfect these recipes with different fruits as the seasons change…and to finish off the rest of the cobbler.

I forgot to take a photo until we’d eaten a quarter of the pan.

Making things from scratch, holding little fruits of the earth in my own hands, breathing air tinged with fresh dirt — these are things that remind me why we’re here. It brought me so much peace to be out in the fields with my two favorite ladies, enjoying each other in the hazy summer sun.  It’s days like these that give me hope for our beautiful, hurting, perfectly imperfect little earth.

Love and theatre,

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