I felt a great surge of pleasure a couple of days ago walking through the orchard after the earth had just been tilled for the garden. I’ve been watching the tree buds swell, not quite ready to open, and I wear a lighter jacket, but somehow spring still seemed a long way off until I smelled the freshly tilled field. It reminded me of my grandfather’s farm, I had a moment of nostalgia for my childhood.

The orchard work in winter is mostly pruning trees but now there is much to be done. Uncovering the strawberries from their winter straw blanket, picking up brush, fertilizing, pruning the raspberries, planting new trees and berries, all are tasks of early spring. The store is being prepared for opening in a couple of weeks and activity speeds up. Our hard-working Jamaican workers returned on Sunday. We welcome them like old friends, they’ve been coming for so many years. Boisy first came to the orchard twenty-two years ago. We are fortunate to have the same men return year after year.

The past few weeks I’ve been doing a lot of baking. I’ve loved baking all of my life but now that there are only two of us, and we shouldn’t be eating too many goodies, most of what comes from the oven goes next door to the grandchildren. A few days ago I ran across an old recipe from the 60s. It was called Blueberry Crumble, I had some blackberries in the freezer so decided to use them instead of blueberries. The original recipe called for a Jiffy Cake mix but I stirred together the ingredients for a simple cake. Nothing could be easier.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup milk
2 cups (1 pint) blackberries

1. Melt butter in an 8 inch baking dish. Mix all other ingredients except black berries together and pour over melted butter. Top with berries.
2. Bake for 45 minutes. This is best when served before it cools completely.
Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.