As a Northern New Yorker by birth, I have many happy and delicious spring time memories of rhubarb. Lips puckered from a quick bite of raw rhubarb, beads of perspiration rolling down my face as I harvest the ruby red stalks on a sunny afternoon and the smell of Mom’s hot rhubarb crisp filling the house.
My favorite rhubarb memory of all would happen every year around May 4th (my Dad’s birthday). Our dear friend and neighbor Jane would bring Dad his fresh-from-the-oven birthday present…a homemade rhubarb pie! In our eyes this pie was worth its weight in gold. Thankfully Dad always shared with the rest of us.
Sometime during my early twenties, I had the sense to ask Jane if she would show me how she created her pies. I already had the recipe, but I knew there was a technique involved that I had yet to master.
Well, its spring time here in Coastal Georgia and there is no rhubarb to be found in the yards of my neighbors or in the veggie stands along the road side. I could never find it up in North Carolina either…and believe me, I asked some of the vendors at the local farmers market. Those NC Coastal Plain Region farmers would give me the weirdest looks, as if to say, “This Yankee needs to figure out that this is the land of the pecan pie.” (Not that there is anything wrong with that!) Later that day I did some research and discovered that rhubarb needs much colder temperatures than those found in Eastern NC to thrive.
But there is hope my dear readers! There is always hope. You see, on Friday afternoon while wandering the produce aisles of my local Publix, it dawned on me to ask the produce manager if they ever sold rhubarb. Lo and behold they do! Not often, but they do. Why, why, why has this never dawned on me before? Who knows? But, what I do know is this…a shipment of rhubarb will be arriving at the store tomorrow afternoon or Monday! Thank you Publix and your friendly staff!
The J-man and I will soon be enjoying rhubarb pie or rhubarb crisp! I’ll let you know which one I ultimately decide to make.
Enjoy your day my friends!