by Willow Vanderling from DIRE THREADS, the first in the Threadville Mystery Series by Janet Bolin
As soon as my last customer left for the evening, I closed my embroidery boutique, In Stitches, and ran across the street to Haylee’s fabric shop. For once, I didn’t linger among the gorgeous fabrics. We went out through the back to Haylee’s bright red pick-up truck and took off.
She drove south, away from Lake Erie, out of Elderberry Bay (fondly known as Threadville) and into farm country. The sun was still high, and the evening was hot. We opened the windows. Breezes tugged at my pony tail. Insects buzzed in fields.
We’d created a game for our shopping trips. We began our explorations on a different rural road each time, stopped at every farm stand, and bought at least one thing until we’d bought enough goodies for the next few days.
I bounced on my seat and pointed ahead. “Flowers and potatoes!”
Haylee pulled off onto the shoulder. We bought sassy yellow daylilies and two small bags of new red potatoes.
The next farm stand sold raspberries. We each bought a quart.
We found tomatoes and peppers at a stand a few miles down the road.
And at the next farm stand, a nice surprise—home-baked goods and preserves. We bought hamburger buns (perfect shape and size for tomato sandwiches), sweet rolls, and strawberry preserves.
Haylee turned north, and we each bought a dozen eggs. Free-range hens pecked, flapped, and turned their bold, bright eyes on us.
After a turn down a dirt road, I saw a sign: Goat’s milk cheese. We each bought goat’s milk cream cheese and bars made of dark chocolate, melted and poured over lavender flowers, then cooled. The fragrance was amazing, but we resisted eating them.
On the next country road, we found sweet corn. “It was picked only ten minutes ago,” the woman said. “For the best flavor, cook it and eat it right away.”
We promised we would do our best, but we clambered into the truck, looked at each other, and exclaimed together, “Blueberries!” We’d been willing to leave other treats to chance, but blueberry season had just begun. We had to have blueberries.
Haylee didn’t speed, but she lost no time driving to a blueberry farm we’d visited only days before. In the interests of time (and our hunger for that super-tasty corn), we headed straight for the baskets of already-picked beautiful blue spheres. I bought several quarts. I would pour them over my cereal at breakfast (followed by one of those sweet rolls, no doubt.) I would dump them onto scoops of ice cream each evening. I would add them to muffins and cookies for customers at In Stitches. I would also eat them by the handful. I always planned to freeze some for winter, but my blueberries always disappeared before I got around to it.
No matter. In a couple of days, Haylee and I would make another foray, meandering down different roads, buying whatever looked good, and detouring to the blueberry farm on our way home.
What’s in season now where you are? What’s your favorite? How do you like it—cooked or raw, by itself or with other foods? What do you preserve to enjoy during colder months?
To learn more about DIRE THREADS, Willow, and Threadville, and for links to booksellers and reviews, click on Threadville Mysteries.