Monday, July 27, 2009

please don't pull me out this is how I would want to go


Bought some local produce this morning, including the first local tomatoes -- but I'm sure they're greenhouse-grown, so I'll wait for another time to post about tomatoes.  The northeast has been suffering from a tremendous epidemic of blight which is ruining tomato crops, thanks to all the rain -- tomatoes get sick in the same kind of weather we do, too much damp and too little sun.  All year I look forward to tomato sandwiches, tomato pie, and tomatoes and okra, and this summer had to go and fuck with me.  But again, that's another issue.

New Hampshire doesn't seem to be very good at growing peaches -- they're never all that great, and some years they just aren't any good at all -- but what it can do is grow plums.  These are much smaller than supermarket plums, as you can see, and cheap.  $1.99 for each container (for local produce, that's about the cheapest fruit you'll find).  The yellow ones are shiro plums, and are slightly tart; the small red ones (slightly larger than cherries) were just labeled as "plums," and don't have much pronounced flavor.  Both are very sweet and juicy, though, which is nice after such a ridiculously stupid summer.

The soda is Boylan's red birch beer.  When I was a kid, I didn't realize birch beer wasn't common everywhere -- which is weird, because I should have noticed Pepsi and Coca-Cola don't make it.  Birch beer's a little like root beer, especially old school root beers still made with sarsaparilla, which Americans have been making at home since before commercial soft drinks became popular in the late 19th century.  You can tap a birch tree like a maple for the sap, which is sweet and sort of caramelly once it's been reduced -- birch beer's actually flavored with an oil derived from that sap.  Though you can order birch syrup online, and I certainly recommend it, using it to make soda won't result in something that tastes like birch beer.  Trust me, I've tried.  Stick to Boylan's or Polar for birch beer, and use the birch syrup on ice cream or with fish.

(While we're on the subject of Boylan's, their cola has a pronounced cinnamon note which makes it a dead ringer for Mexi-Cola, a cola so obscure I've never even been able to find mention of it on the internet, but I drank a lot of it in Colorado in 1993.)

1 comment:

  1. I'm a big fan of Boylan's birch beer... though it isn't as good as the local PEI bottlery made when I was a kid (of course). The soda I really miss is spruce beer.