I wasn't much use to Grandpa as a berry picker. More berries went in my mouth than in the box tied around my waste. The summer I turned nine the berries disappeared after my grandparents moved and new houses were built on their land. I mourned the loss.
The next summer my father planted a ten foot row of a vigorous raspberry variety given to him by an elderly friend. On June and July mornings I could go out to the garden and have my fill.
When Gary and I moved into my childhood home four and a half years ago, the raspberry bushes that had produced for more than fifty years were struggling to survive.
I pulled out a few remaining shoots and stuck them in pots for the summer. Two years ago I planted the scrawny sticks in a raised bed I built along the fence between our garage and the neighbors to the north. Although they didn't look promising, we enjoyed a small crop from those sticks and coddled new shoots hoping for better days.
This spring the shoots exploded with blossoms and berries by the thousands.
What to do with an abundance of raspberries: eat by the handful, serve on ice cream, bake raspberry cobbler and shortcake, pile on top of waffles, mix with yogurt, and share with friends or neighbors. A few fall to the ground because the foliage hides them until it is too late. It's a sin to waste raspberries.
What else can we do with an abundance of raspberries. A comment from Gary about tasting raspberry lemonade at the grocery store gave me an idea. What if we combine raspberry lemonade, fresh raspberries and my favorite gin? Last night Gary concocted a drink.
"What do you think?" Gary said.
"Nectar of the gods," I said. "A perfect way to use an abundance of raspberries."