The Cob That Grew the Golden Kernel

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Blueberry Pi

Easy as…

blueberry pi

At this time of the year in New Jersey—yes.

And while a tender, flaky crust is key, great pie begins and ends with great fruit.

Have you ever gone blueberry picking? It’s addictive. We returned a bit earlier from our third trip this month to Phillips Farms in Milford. The fields show loving tending, the produce is delicious, and the view (see below) is comfortably gorgeous.

Along with several plump field tomatoes, three handfuls of crisp green beans, a sturdy head of garlic, and a container of fragile raspberries we carried home a giant bucket of blueberries.

Honestly, it’s hard to keep enough berries on hand to make a pie. But the photo above is proof of our self-control—and my son’s G&T math impulse to celebrate numbers where he sees them, which like words for me, is everywhere.

I was wondering, why does PI, like pie, fascinate us? I found one answer in “What Makes Pi So Special?” by Natalie Wolchover, who explains that while it’s simple to calculate PI—the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter—the answer is an “irrational” number, a number whose exact value is “inherently unknowable.” This drove ancient mathematicians mad, particularly because PI crops up everywhere in the mathematical and natural world, from the loops as rivers bend to the spiral of double helix in our DNA.

So what does this have to do with pie? In terms of cookies and cakes, I’m not the greatest baker, but I love to make pie. Baking takes precision and is often complicated. I like the simplicity of a pie recipe and the “unknowableness” of the outcome. Cupcakes are supposed to taste the same, all picture-perfect dozen in one box, but every pie tastes different. Fruit refuses to conform, and parts of its beauty is in its homeliness. Fresh-picked fruit never looks like supermarket fruit. Fresh-picked fruit has bumps and blemishes and is fragrantly temporal.

I don’t believe we can ever know everything, and I’ve never made a pie that didn’t set off the smoke alarm while baking. Talk about setting our sweet juices flowing!

blueberry bucketsThis morning my son brought a friend along with us who had never picked blueberries before today. We’ve had this newbie experience several times. He was mesmerized by the process, and he could not keep his hands out of the bucket on the drive home.

As we crossed over rows while picking, the boys were calling the open spaces between the bushes “portals.” I found myself lost in childhood memories of my grandfathers’ late July gardens. I forgot all about work and all about bills. And the warming sun and the cooling breeze and the buzzing hum of the cicadas was clearly manna to everyone picking.

This has been a bountiful summer. So much so I’ve barely kept up with this blog and have a pile of updates and photos to post to this website. But that can wait until tomorrow.

boys and blueberries

Today we have blueberries.

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