The harvest is in full swing, we have had a month of tomatoes, potatoes, salads, beans, herbs and much, much more. The last of the soft fruit is often the tastiest, it as if the year is bookmarked by the glorious taste of strawberries and the warmth of blackberries.
The great thing about blackberries is that they naturalise well in hedgerows but are great for fence boundaries where the space is not wide enough for a hedge. This harvest is a mixture of keeping Little D from pricking his finger on thorns -- there are thornless varieties of blackberries but they never have the bite of the thorned varieties, they tend to be tasteless -- and from stopping him from eating every second berry. Even when harvesting in other areas of the garden he will suddenly cry out, 'I'm bored, just going for a walk', which means: 'I'm off to see if I can eat some soft fruit without being caught'. We have even taught him to whistle as he wanders off so we know he's not munching on something. Honestly, over the years we have found him face down in the strawberry patch and his cheeks stuffed like a hamster in the gooseberry patch as he vehemently denies he is eating anything which comes out like; 'ouble, ouble, ouble'.
Even walking up to the blackberries on an overcast day doesn't stop him from checking on first the rhubarb and then the strawberries in tyres.
Then there is the call up the hill that he is coming to check the blackberries, as if shouting it loudly will warn the neighbours that they're about to hear loud smacking of lips and cries of, 'Oh goodness, that's delicious', which is one of his favourite sayings at the moment.
We know that many of the blackberries harvested won't make it back to the kitchen, that's the fun and delight of gardening with children, they eat as they go but more importantly it becomes an important memory. It's like the peas Andrew harvested with his Dad, nothing has ever come close to that taste. No blackberry will ever be as delicious as that berry Little D pulled himself and popped into his mouth when he thought no one was looking.
This is how you teach children to grow, to make a link between what they eat and how it is grown, Little D will happily pop into the glasshouse and ask to eat a tomato, we will join him, plucking some ourselves and popping it in our mouths with a leaf of basil. Nothing will ever compare to this memory and the taste of it all.