The other morning, I went for a drive up Highway 88. It’s one of our little (mostly) two-lane country highways speckled with farm houses, almond orchards and the occasional ramshackled town with saloons and order-at-the-window burger joints.
I was out, peaking between rows of cherry trees and pulling beside boarded-up strawberry stands that will look lonely until strawberry season opens in a few weeks — all in the name of updating a list on fresh food for our annual visitor’s guide.
I decided to take my time. I drove the speed limit. I pulled over once or twice for a picture. I let a store clerk show me around the entire market, telling me about local honey and homemade pies and we walked out to the rhubarb patch — even though all I needed were his business hours and a phone number. In the car, Joplin, Fleetwood and Cash were my passengers. They are so soulful in the early morning.Rhubarb. It’s a mystery fruit to me. Hot pink like the ’80s, but crisp like celery. It always makes me think of visiting my 105-year-old grandmother in Iowa. She grew rhubarb, but warned me that eating it raw was poisonous. I’ve been cautious of it ever since.