I Found Them!

These are the best GD pickles in the whole wide world. I dont care what you say. I will fight you like a rabid raccoon. These are it. Especially when the put the little ones in there because they stay nice and crunchy. I think one of the reasons they taste so good is because they use the dill seeds and not the fronds but this pickle water, i use to pickle other things if i dont just straight drink it from the jar. These pickles are the perfect amount of sour and they taste like butter. They also do okra and that is amazing as well. They have dill, dill garlic, spicy ones…and im sure im leaving a fourth flavor out. Anyways, i digress! The point is, there was a family that grew the cucumbers and okra to make the pickles on their farm. They gave the cucumbers and okra to their friend who made the pickles. He gave half the pickles back to them and kept half the pickles for himself to sell at farmers markets. I grew up eating these pickles at the farmers market in Austin. We would buy them when i was a kid. Then i moved to kerrville and found them in this family’s little shop in the heb parking lot and i asked excitedly, “how do you have these pickles from my childhood all the way out here?!” And they told me, “Honey, we grow the cucumbers and okra that make those pickles, of course we have them. Where did you think they were coming from?” I had unknowingly stumbled upon the source of the pickles from the austin farmer’s market. Cut to heb forcing them out of the lot and demolishing their shop. I never heard another thing about where they went or how they were doing. I missed their affordable home grown vegetables and straight off the tree fruits immensely. I missed them insanely much, and i was angry beyond comprehension that they were gone. Angry that heb had bullied them. Angry that they had asked their employees to park in the little family’s parking lot. Angry that they had finally found a family member willing to make a deal with them and angry that a place 3 generations of this community had considered a staple of their weekly routine was gone. I never did hear another thing about where i could purchase their veggies or pickles or i would have driven. I would have driven to another state if necessary and come back with bulk amounts of pickles i tell you what.

Well, there’s a little concrete platform with a roof on the side of the highway in fredericksburg where a family sells produce half the year. They sell produce, honey, goat milk soaps, and fresh made sauerkraut. their produce is always amazing but its really expensive. I hadnt been to them in years because i was making minimum wage at the grocery and then the smoothie shop. I wasnt making enough to stop at the stand. However, on this particular day i was getting a lot of hours back in healthcare and i had enough spending money to blow some on amazing fruit and veg. So i stopped at the stand. I picked out some squash, a good water melon, and some fall apart soft blackberries…and then i saw them. I ran over to the table and touched the jars to make sure. I looked and looked again. Yes, it wad them. The pickles! I exclaimed excitedly, “You have the pickles!!!” They said, “yes, we have pickles.” I said, “but you have THE pickles, the pickles! I didnt know where they went. I thought they were gone forever! I didnt think id ever taste these again. I immediately bought a jar of pickles, sat in the car thinking about it and came back for a second, called a few people and told them i found the pickles….those people immediately demanded i get them a jar and offered me cash when i saw them next, so i went back and got more pickles. The guy said, “Long time no see.” And i said, “Yeah, well i sat in the car and told some people on the phone that you have the pickles and now they want some.” He said, “We’ve had the pickles all along. You would have known that if you came at all last year.” I exclaimed, “i know! I havent been in a while.” It is 12 dollars for those pickles. It is 6 dollars for a little tray of squash. You are paying for farm fresh goodness but what im saying is these are fredericksburg prices. I couldnt come last year. But for the time being i can afford to buy the pickles and now i know where they are for the seasons when i can afford the pickles. I love them and they are worth it. And so does everybody else, who immediately wanted the garlic flavor ones or the dill and was willing to pay me cash if i brought them to work. Those are some good pickles (its the brine man. Good on rice, good on pasta, good in a cup as a drink, good to pickle beets or carrots with when the pickles are all eaten). Put that brine over some rice and chickpeas and i am in hog heaven. Hog Heaven! The best.

The blackberries didnt make it home. I did a very non pandemic thing and ate them straight out of the basket. It was a desperate situation and had to be done. They were so ripe and so juicy they were just becoming one with the inside of the paper bag. They were falling apart and i didnt think the amazing ripe goodness would survive the hour long bumpy ride. So i ate them. I washed my hands but not the berries. Oh well. Maybe the sun baked the germs off because i survived. Some things are just too important to waste. Bush ripened berries are one of those things.

I tried not to make a mess but just lifting the berries from the basket colored my fingers pink with juice. Grocery store blackberries didnt do this. They were never so ripe that they exploded upon gently lifting them and juices never tan down one’s fingers. The world was missing out! These were what berries were meant to be! People dont know what blackberries are supposed to taste like! Not having been to the roadside stand in years, i was having a euphoric experience with these blackberries. You could have ran any number of ideas by me in that moment and i would have agreed to all of them. I was just happy.

I chose a watermelon with a good sun spot and webbing. There was a little place where sugar had leaked out of a hole in the rind and dried. It was a sweet watermelon. I had no patience to spend the time chilling it. I ate it luke warm. The thing about a watermelon from the field rather than the store…if you eat it over a cup you’ll have a whole glass of juice to drink when you are finished with your slices of watermelon. I gave the rinds to the chickens.

The moral of the story: Life is short. If you can, buy roadside fruit…and bring wipeys, because its best enjoyed immediately.

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