I ran out of the grape jelly I made two years ago from grapes grown on a friend’s property in Rowe. I was lamenting the fact that she wasn’t around to ask and I didn’t want to wander around on her land without permission. I had just come to the sad conclusion that I would have another year without it. Yesterday, at the shop, I walked over to get some information on a car and looked up at the fence that is in between our lot and the next. Grapes – loads of them. I brought out a box this morning and picked away. They are small, they are wild and they are tart. With the amount of sugar that is used in jelly making this is the perfect fruit.
This is a classic case of finding food in unexpected places. This is on a fence in a parking lot. There is maybe a 4 foot wide span of earth in between the lots and that is where they grow. They have been growing there for years judging by the size of the vines. With all my whining about not having any grapes I’m surprised that Bill didn’t say anything about these. After I said I was going to pick them today he told me that he had a customer that used to come in and pick them every year. I guess I’m not really that surprised. He, like me, never thinks we are going to see wild food growing anywhere down here. It always seems so . . . urban. Too much asphalt and concrete. Then again we have an old Italian body shop owner 3 doors down from us that cut a 3′ x 6′ patch out of the parking lot and grows tomatoes and peppers there every year – right up against the building. They are spectacular but I always looked at that as the Italian gift, they seem to be able to grow tomatoes anywhere.
I think the lesson here is to open your eyes and expect the unexpected. Then be brave enough to pick what you see and use it.
Now I’m just dreaming about those PBJs.