The farmers who deliver produce to farm stands deserve grateful tribute.
Here, the Scharf farm has the sun and soil to deliver the year’s first spears of asparagus and the smallest, sweetest strawberries shortcake can conjure.
Nearby a stand sells grape tomatoes to pop like candy, another dusky, fragrant blackberries.
And then there’s Charles.
Charles is getting on, you could say. Over the years of my weekly stops at his stand, his back has become a bit stooped. Still, his steps remain sprightly. And while his eyes have turned bleary, still, they sparkle with recognition.
There will come a year, I’m afraid, when Charles, like his sister awhile back, will fail to appear in the spring. Each week, I will check, hopeful of his return. And then I will mourn his loss, my loss.
So thank you now, Charles, for the riches exchanged for pennies: ruby-red rhubarb for pies and muffins; leafy-green spinach for sautéing in butter touched with lemon zest; string-tied basil for plates of summer pasta; a red dianthus moved from your side garage to my back garden.
Most of all, Charles, thank you for the small but lovely connection that can occur between strangers who meet, if only for a few moments, over many years. I’m glad to know you.
Time to table: 3 hours
Makes scant 3 cups
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice (from about 1-1/2 lemons)
- 2 pounds fresh (with leaves) or 1 pound frozen rhubarb
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
Stir water, sugar and lemon juice in a medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves, then bring to boil.
While water boils, clean rhubarb, discarding leaves and root tips. Cut in one-inch pieces. Add to boiling water and let simmer until rhubarb is tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and puree in food processor or blender or with immersion blender. Stir in corn syrup. Refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours.
Process as directed in ice cream maker until thick and creamy.
More Ice Cream Recipes
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