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You will know you are late.  It will be apparent with no apologies, no comforting awkward smiles of encouragement.  It will be made known by squished raspberries gathered on your soles and between your toes, if you are a consummate barefoot picker like me.  Raspberries are an intolerant taskmaster, demanding attention every day in warm-hot stretches, every two to three days in cooler spells.  And if you don't pay them the required hour-long visit, they throw a thorny fit, casting raspberries about, dropping ripe drupelets to the ground.  A toddler tantrum if you will, quite unlike the unassuming currants, patiently content in middle child fashion, to wait their turn in between raspberry bouts.  So raspberry season is about reorganization around one central garden bush.  Fitting another, rather long task into the day.  But the payoffs are well worth the labour.  Raspberries frozen, jammed, preserved, baked, barbeque sauced.  These tart fruits combine so beautifully with red currants into a jam that sets perfectly without added pectin.  Or raspberry mostarda anyone?  Wow, I feel perfectly pretentious saying mostarda!  How about raspberry vodka?  Or raspberry custard pie?  The list goes on and on, much like the never-ending purgatorial picking.  But raspberries are the midsummer signal and the beginning of the garden onslaught.  A perfect bootcamp, juicy, sweet and tart.

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