by Maggie Sefton
Have you ever tasted B.E.A.R. Jam? How about Southern Chow Chow? Bread and Butter Pickles?
Those are some of local specialties found here in the Northern Neck of Virginia---hour and a half from the DC Beltway and what I call the Metro Area Madness. B.E.A.R. jam is made from blackberries, elderberries, apples, and red raspberries. Southern Chow Chow is cabbage, bell peppers, onions, jalapeno peppers, vinegar, sugar, and spices. At least that's the recipe used at Westmoreland Berry Farms in Westmoreland County, Virginia. It's well worth a visit, just to relax on their wide back porch in one of the rocking chairs and gaze out at the Potomac. While enjoying one of the yummy snacks from their small snack bar, of course.
I visited the Berry Farm last year in July and will again this year, probably when daughter Melissa comes to visit this week. Melissa comes by train from Manhattan---a nice relaxing trip---and arrives in Fredericksburg, Virginia which is only 40-some miles from the lovely wooded area where I am. I'll pick her up, and we'll have dinner at one of the many new and trendy restaurants that are now part of the Fredericksburg scene. I may have posted a photo last year.
She'll have until Saturday to rest and relax here, sitting on the wraparound deck, staring into the woods. We have beautiful cardinals singing in the trees right beside the deck, and bald eagles soaring overhead and nesting in the tall trees. Deer, of course, wander out of the trees and nibble grass in the front yard. The backyard stretches way back into the woods and a ravine. So. . .naturally there is more wildlife. Those naughty deer have a great time in the spring eating the azaleas in the garden. :(
I've been writing the delayed Kelly Flynn #14, my current work-in-progress, while sitting on the deck. Early in the morning is cooler. And I had some B.E.A.R. jam this very morning. :) What are the local specialities where you folks are?