I have a love/hate relationship with raspberries.
It wasn’t like this between us in the past. I used to just simply love them: their tart edge that married so well with anything sweet, their gorgeous colour, their cute little beanie-like shape that looked so exactly like the Allen’s lollies - uncanny.
Then I moved into a house with a raspberry patch. I’m not talking about a few canes in the corner; I’m talking row after row of them.
I don’t want to appear ungrateful, and I hate to be thought a whinger. But I’m seriously thinking of getting a flame thrower (you can rent them, right?) and torching the whole bloody lot of them.
The problem is, my raspberries ripen mid-December (and need picking for at least a month). This means fruit for the Christmas pav and homemade cordial for gifts and so on.
This also means having time and energy for picking at what is by far the busiest and most chaotic part of year. Throw in a few days away and you have the makings of several square metres of slushy, mouldy berries (if it’s wet) or shrivelled, mummified fruit-corpses (if it’s hot).
Ideally, I need to spend at least a daily half hour or so in the patch. That doesn’t sound like much, right?
But you can’t pick in the wet, or if it’s super-hot, or if you’re asleep in the hammock in a sugar coma from the aforementioned pav. Considering this time of year is mostly wet, hot and sleepy, the picking job becomes unachievable.
I’ve begged family and friends to come over and pick their fill (it barely makes a dent), and I’ve bribed my children with cold, hard cash (apparently it’s not adequate compensation for the bugs and heat exhaustion).
I suppose I could just let them shrivel up or rot away. But the “waste not, want not” gene is strong in me. I couldn’t sleep at night knowing I was responsible for the wanton squandering of perfectly good food.
Hence the flame thrower (the only logical solution), but I’ll have to wait until autumn when the bountiful harvest is over.
Until then, you’ll know where to find me. Bring a hat.