notes from maggie's farm
Well, I... I think that it... that it wasn't enough to just want to see Uncle Henry and Auntie Em... and it's that if I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own backyard; because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with.--Dorothy, The Wizard of OzI've always wanted to forage for wild edibles, kind of like the Ingalls sisters, or Swiss Family Robinson, but I've never seemed to be able to gather anything I was confident was safe to eat. Envious of those who collect wild morels and ramps and elderberries and the like, I'd pretty much resigned myself to the thought that foraging, unless I could get myself out to the northwest coast, for me, meant coming upon a new farmers market.
When I lived in Louisiana, we used to pick scads of dewberries and muscadine grapes, but I haven't been able to find them here. Mustang grapes grow wild in our area, but I'm always a day late and a dollar short upon searching out my friends' hidden troves. Prickly pear cactus fruit is fairly abundant on the roadsides here, but YOW. It's a very sticky situation.
Recently, I've seen a few local friends posting pictures of the prettiest handfuls of dark, plump berries they called Texas Persimmons. I'd never seen them, had no idea where to get them, and as social media is most effectively wont to do, I was a tad jealous of what my friends had.....and I didn't.
Skip ahead a few days ago. Much barking and commotion was afoot in the front of the property and I set out to discover about which all the fuss was. One dog accompanied me on my walk to the front, which seemed odd, because usually all available paws are encouraging me on my route. "Where are your running buddies, Rudy?", I asked, my question met with much tongue and tail wagging. I could hear two other barks, and as I got closer to the fence, I saw what the party was all about. There were Scout and Annie, racing up and down the fence line, greeting me happily, from the wrong side.
Apparently it was easier to figure out how to get out, than how to get back in, and it took a little wrangling to get, first, wriggly Annie, and secondly, big, furry Scout, back on the right side of the law.
As I built a sophisticated system (Okay, yeah. A pile of rocks.) for keeping the dogs from making the same mistake again, at least in THAT spot, I struggled against the branches of this darned bushy tree that kept scratching me and dropping big purple soft berry-like fruit......
WAIT! Wait just a minute! These are Texas Persimmons!! Branches heavy, hanging low, pregnant with hundreds of globes. FREE food. FORAGED food. Right in my own front yard. Seriously. Popped one in my mouth and, yep, that's exactly what they were--tasted just like the big orange persimmons of my past.
We've been farming here for almost 5 years and this is the first I've noticed them.
And as this simple little place continues to do, I was taught a very obvious and tangible lesson that day. The treasures you seek, and often think are out of reach, may just be buried right under your nose.
There really is no place like home.
Be sure to drop in next week. We'll learn more about these Texas Persimmons, and make a fancy little jam with them, if things work out (which means if we don't eat them all, first).