Fresh Apricot Wedding Cake

Posted on June 21, 2012 by

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I think I picked the perfect time to get married.

When my wife and I arrived at the home of my brand new extended family – a two-story house in Upper Vake with an expansive garden and orchard – one of the first things I noticed were the apricots falling off the apricot tree. They would hit the ground near the stairs that led up to the orchard. The really ripe ones bruised on impact, so you have to eat them right away or they’ll rot. I asked if I could have one, and my new cousin-in-law encouraged me; I started picking them up off the ground and putting them in a bowl so we could rinse them. The first one I ate was sweet and tart – a little underripe, but delicious.

That’s when I got the news: she had baked a cake out of the apricots that had fallen earlier in the day.

So to celebrate my wedding, I got to eat cake baked with apricots that had come off the tree while I was getting married. Now that’s fresh.

The cake was delicious. Warm, sweet, fluffy, and full of apricot goodness.

I grew up in New York City, but my grandparents moved to Florida when I was very young. They bought a house with a yard, and in the yard were several orange trees. Every year my grandfather would send us a box of fresh oranges from his tree. This was the closest I ever came to eating freshly picked food – oranges that had been shipped a thousand miles through UPS. Everything else I ate, I imagine, came from industrial farms somewhere.

When I first got to Georgia, I lived in a house with a persimmon tree. The first time my landlady offered my roommate and I persimmons, I had no idea what they even were – they’re not all that common in the US. After watching our translator eat one and survive, I tried one, and it was fabulous. Eating them right off the tree is a thousand times better than buying them at a fruit stand – they look better, and they taste better, and it just feels better.

Now, I’ve read about TLG volunteers eating freshly picked grapes, strawberries, cherries, and various other fruits; I’ve partaken in fresh apricots and persimmons; I’ve even seen a volunteer grab a fresh sour plum off a random path while on an excursion with Buckswood Summer School.

I think it’s pretty safe to say that for many of us, Georgia changes our relationship with food.

Most of what I eat in Georgia comes from Georgia. Most of it is grown here, in farms surrounding the little villages that dot the landscape all over the country. Partaking in Georgia’s rich natural bounty – experiencing food from a self-sustaining landscape – is good for our health, and good for our environment. In America it is prohibitively expensive to eat only organic, local food. In Georgia it is the norm. Georgian grandmothers, out shopping, confirm with the produce sellers that the potatoes and peppers and tomatoes are Georgian, and not Turkish or Armenian, before buying them. There’s a sense that the local food is better – more wholesome, more nutritious, and more delicious – and based on my experience, I can’t really argue.

Even after two years in Georgia, the food here still finds ways to surprise and delight me.

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