Freshly-picked ice cubes: There’s nothing like the taste of homegrown.
The topic of weather is rarely tabled here on the island. In fact, it’s usually the opener and the final word. “Some weather, eh?” The question is posed to friends and strangers alike whether we’re sporting a sweater or galvanized in Gore-Tex, ordering a latte or waiting for the ferry. Toasty warm or bone-chilling damp, there are fine details to discuss to prolong the subject and the conversation. (After all, island time is measured in half hours not minutes.)
I’m not immune to such behavior, especially when it comes to my latest crop: ice cubes. I can’t remember a better growing season, extending well into mid-June this year. The cold temperatures and relentless rains have been perfect conditions for growing fully-shaped brittle ice cubes–the kind that crack with precision into shiny shards with the whack of soup spoon–the kind that linger in your glass awaiting the next re-fill–the kind that put the capital “D” in Daiquiri.
I’m strictly an heirloom ice cube grower, sticking with the tried-and-true varieties that spring from the legendary wells of Water District 19. (Much like wine appellation, ice cubes from other island locales like Burton or Dockton can’t be sold as sourced from Water District 19.) Oh yeah, I can taste the difference.
While others complain about heating bills, mood swings usually reserved for Northwest winters and corn that’s as high an a centipede’s eye, I’m grateful that I have one last mess of cubes for the weekend. Luckily, they freeze well, and I can extend their use for a couple weeks. Sweet tea here, a smoothie there, it’s hard for me to let go of the season and move on to strawberries and raspberries. I’ll be sure to reserve a bagful or two for my friends M & J who appreciate the nuisances of homegrown cubes to cool fine Kentucky bourbon and calm down their juleps. (Did I mention they trade Dungeness crab?)
So the next time you begin to complain about the weather, think again and thank Mother Nature and the farmer who brought you your high ball’s sparkling star. Ice cubes like these don’t just grow on trees or in places where the sun is a regular visitor during the summer months. We’re indeed blessed in the Pacific Northwest. (Now where’s my blender?)
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