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Saturday morning, bright and sunny, we went to Inwood and the boys wanted a few bucks for treats. “I’ll give you a few bucks if you pick some mulberries.”They groaned a little. But only a little. Then they started to pick.

“We can go to our good tree,” Z said to B. Then to me, “I’ll show you.” He led me down the path that runs parallel to the Isham into a grove of fruiting mulberries.

I am still amazed that these prolific trees grow all over NYC and for the most part, the only beings who indulge in their sweet-sweet fruit are the pigeons. Now that I know they exist, the birds have competition. From me and my bucket. But from Z and his insatiable appetite. We picked together for a while, Z eating more than he dropped in our recycled yogurt container bucket. Then I left them to continue while I shopped on the street.

You have to remember, we live in the middle of NYC. When I was their age I had a secret imaginary world of fairies who lived in a patch of violets in the back of my parents. backyard. Sometimes I worry that they are not having that experience of the world being filled with hidden secret places. But clearly they are.

That’s another thing I love about going to the farmers market in Inwood on a Saturday morning. They can actually go off by their own — run and play on the hill and the thicket behind Isham Street.

The way they reacted to my request to berry-pick said a lot about where we have come as a family. Mulberry picking, even though we only started last year, is now a tradition. And like any 11 and 9-year-old boy, they are experts.

“This is the best tree,” one chided.

“No, look you have to pick it this way,” the other reprimanded with great authority. I sent them off with two yogurt containers and they came back with one ¾ of the way filled. Then I sent them back to fill it – John and I helped

“What will we do with the berries this year?” Z asked.

“We could make a pie like last time,” B said.
“Maybe we’ll try jam,” I suggest.

My mother used to make microwave jam. I am sure a microwave strips food of nutrients, but in case you haven’t noticed, I’m pretty tired these days. I perused some other recipes that called for boiling and pectin and I just wasn’t up for it. This recipe is basically how I remember my mother doing it.

And the mulberry jam – it’s to die for. Although I tried to send them out again today with the babysitter to pick more berries and I couldn’t get them out to the woods without me. I guess it’s a lucky day for the pigeons.

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Microwave Mulberry Jam

2 cups of crushed mulberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. butter.

Remove the stems from the mulberries. Crush in an 8 cup glass measure with a spout. 
Let stand until juices forms – about thirty minutes.

Cover with a piece of wax paper. Then 
microwave on high for 10-14 minutes, stirring every 2-3 minutes. 
Spoon out 1 tbsp. of jam, refrigerate for 15 minutes and test consistency. 
If the  jam is too runny, re-heat it in microwave for intervals of 2 more minutes until it has the consistency you’re looking for.

Makes a jam jar full.

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Last weekend, I didn’t make it to the green market. I went to yoga instead. Last week I blogged about how the overabundance of veggies is overwhelming. This week, I admit it, all my life is overwhelming. It’s true a lot in my life has changed and is changing and I’m having a harder time that usual getting more than the basics done. I’ve written this blog three times this week (on paper)and never managed to type it up.I haven’t baked bread in over two weeks. And I even got take out twice and threw out the plastic containers. I admit it, I’ve slipped a little bit.

The point of this post was that the point of eating local, healthy food is to be healthy and keep the planet healthy. But keeping up with everything I need to do had really kicked my butt, not to mention added a few pounds to my thighs. (Have I mentioned in this post how delicious local, home-made chocolate chip cookies are!) So getting exercise back into my life is a new priority.  So if finding balance — and yoga is not just about exercise, it’s about both.

Luckily, biking is also green. So on saturday, after yoga the kids and I biked down the west side bike path to the 72nd street pier. We played a pop up piano on the pier and had a drink with a friend. Then we biked over to Central Park. The whole time B kept saying, “This is great! Can we do it again next week?”

In the words of our illustrious prez, I told him, “Yes, we can.” But the cost of not doing my sustainable chores on the weekend was that during the week, our meals have been thrown together with whatever we could find in the fridge. Even with the CSA, the larder was a bit bare and we ran out of a lot of the basics because I didn’t go shopping on Saturday. But truthfully, we ended up with a few pretty delicious dishes. Sure, the mushroom and barley stew was ok but my favorite creation was spelt with oven roasted cauliflower, goat cheese, basil and mint. I’ll probably even make it again and even post it when I’m more up on my game.

Figuring out the right choices is a task in itself. Keeping up with it all is even more exhausting. So this week’s post barely happened. There are no pictures. Not even a real recipe. But in this case being ok with what I had and could manage was actually delicious and when I think about B and Z biking down to Central Park, totally worth it.

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