Today I went to check out a book at the library and it was due in October! Oh My God! What am I going to do in the winter? Mild panic has set in. One thing to do, of course, is to prepare. Freezing, canning and root cellaring (which in my case will have to be in an improvised wine cellar that is where an old bulkhead entry way used to be) seem to be the recommended methods. But, you have to have something to preserve! The fruit is almost gone. Panic made me drive far away, again, to Beaver County (just past the airport) to McConnell's Farm.I had heard they had raspberries and a phone call confirmed it. She said the berries wouldn't be around long, so come soon. http://www.mcconnellsfarm.com/index.asp
I did and found the old, family-run operation to be very quiet this morning when I showed up to pick raspberries. They had both golden and red varieties. The McConnells were obviously not using pesticides or herbicides in great amounts because the fields were overgrown with weeds and buzzing with bees and many insects (including japanese beetles).
I was very glad I didn't have the two year old with me because he would have been lost among the tall weeds and caught by the thorns of the raspberries. Just something to keep in mind if you are planning to go. The proprietress of the farm store gave me some pint baskets and a cardboard box to hold them. Pints are $2.50 each. I filled 6 pints in about an hour. The bushes were filled with ripe berries. I was wishing others were around to pick them because they are mostly going to waste. I also picked up a peck of peaches for $12-- a fruit they specialize in, and a peck of tomatoes. Ms. Farmer (I should have asked her name!) even gave me for free 12 quart-sized jars to help with the process.
I washed the berries at home and was dismayed to find that many had tiny mold spots that I swear weren't there when I picked them. The mold spores seemed to be multiplying by the second, so I washed, picked through and discarded many berries, then spread them out on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper to freeze. My next step is to transfer these to freezer bags. My intention is to thaw them shortly to make jam, but if I don't, they will be good as an ice cream topping, stirred into oatmeal, made into muffins, etc. through the long winter. Ain't they pretty, though?