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Willie Weir : October 26th, 2011

Roadside Treats

They are gifts of the road. Nature’s snacks ripened just for you. Their aromas fill the hot summer’s breezes and the late fall’s chill. Roadside trees, far from any home or farm, display these treats more beautifully than any row of sweets in a candy shop. They must have been planted for the benefit of touring cyclists. Why else would their heavily laden branches lean over the road?

Apples in eastern Washington. Tree tomatoes (tomate de arbol) in Colombia. Mangoes in Thailand. Figs. We love figs! You can smell them a half mile away when the wind is just right and they are oozing with flavor.

The fruit that won our hearts in Portugal was the persimmon. Eat it too early and your mouth will pucker up in disgust. But catch this fruit at its peak and the jelly-like interior is a decadent dessert.

So enamored were we with the persimmon, that we planted one in our yard in Seattle. It will be years before it bears fruit; and, due to our cool summers, the taste will probably never match those we slurped in southern Portugal.

But ten years from now, I’ll pick a persimmon and bite into the gooey flesh … and my mind will fly across the ocean and remember a bicycle journey.

Now, that’s sweet!

Originally posted on the Adventure Cycling Association’s blog.

2 comments to Roadside Treats

  • Richard Eborn

    Willie, several years ago, my daughter and I did a two day bicycle trip on the Weiser River Trail (a converted rail to trail along the Weiser River in Southwest Idaho.) One of the pleasures of the trip was eating the raspberries and apples that we picked from abandoned orchards and patches. It was a sweet topping to a beautiful experience.

  • Excellent. And thanks for the reminder to go out and check for the last of the ripe raspberries in our backyard before the Fall mold sets in.

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