good berry

I was out scouting vineyard sites up the side of Flat Mountain the other day and I found a good one. There was a black-raspberry bush with a few ripe berries on it. We ate the berries, and they were among the best I’ve ever had. The flavor lingered for half and hour. This is not something fruit-growers, other than wine-growers, often do: plant their plants in a rain-shadow, on a slope, in such poor soil, unfertilized, unirrigated, in competition with weeds. Under these conditions berries grow slowly, painfully, and develop a complexity and concentration as above that of standard farm-grown berries as open-air tomatoes are above hot-house ones. I have been consistently disappointed in the fruit I’ve been able to get at farmers’ markets lately, I think this disappointment has increased in proportion to my greater habit of foraging, acquired in old age. When was a cultivated berry ever as good as a wild one? And yet, we can do better.