This girl learned her summer months, not just from repeating them in elementary school, but from the sweet tastes she would have at every meal:
It was all about fruit – the local tastes that would start appearing at the markets, and lucky for me, in gardens and on trees in my childhood neighbourhood.
It would start with strawberries, picked from a neighbour’s garden or a local farm, the warmth of the sun bringing out the sweetness of these berries. I would rarely wait to get the berries home, since I adored eating them right from the plant. I would sit in the backseat of the car, surrounded by flats of berries and would ignore the dust of the earth to start tasting them as my parents were finishing picking them at the farm.
And then there would be cherries, picked from our neighbour’s tree, dark red clusters which would seem to ripen all at the same time. Our neighbour would beg everyone to come pick, leaving empty ice cream containers below the tree for encouragement, as the tree would offer a wealth of cherries, and the devoted would bring a ladder, to get those cherries from the higher branches.
I remember these moments with fondness because as school ended the first reward of summer would be these sweet fruit on our dining table – something I could eat at any meal, at any time, and almost never anything but just as they are. My Mum never limited what I had when it came to fruit – especially considering she and my Dad were constantly snacking on the red fruit too.
As an adult, I still love the fruit, and now often think of various recipes that I can create with these sweet tastes. But my true thrill – sitting on my balcony on a summer day, eating these fresh tastes of summer one after the other.