Already 20 minutes late, I shut down my computer, jump up from my messy desk and run out of the office to my car. It’s a Friday afternoon in late June, and I’m peeling out of the dirt parking lot, racing to catch the last flight out of New Bedford to Nantucket for a weekend with my family and our friends the Creelmans.
I was 22 years-old, working my first job out of college as a salesman for a plant nursery, and it had been one heck of a week – 12 of them in a row, actually. In the plant business spring is rough and I hadn’t had the luxury of a mere 40 or 50 hour work week since late March. I could not wait to get out of Dodge.
I fought traffic, took a few lights that were on the burnt orange side of yellow, and raced down the access road past Haskell’s Nursery and the McDonald’s that was recently in the news for armed robbery.
Carrying a weekend bag that held only a bathing suit, a pair of shorts and two t-shirts, I strode up to the ticket counter where they asked my weight and handed me a seat number for the six-seater plane. A quick nap later we were descending through the clouds.
The house my parents rented came with the use of an old K-Car wagon which rattled up to the curb at the airport. I jumped in and we raced – as well as the car could – back out to the western end of the island, arriving in Madaket just minutes before sunset. Shoes were kicked off, gin and tonics poured, and lime wedges squeezed. We climbed the ladder to the second floor and stepped out onto the precarious rooftop deck to watch the sun set over the ocean, past the grasses that covered the sandy dunes between the house and the beach.
It was then that I took my first deep breath since leaving the office. I sipped the ice cold drink in my hand and exhaled, 8 weeks of stress leaving my body and dissipating into the salty breeze that blew through my hair (which I still had, thank you very much).
Blueberry Rosemary Shrub
Makes 3-4 cups syrup
There are so many ways to use this. I like a ratio of 3 tbs to 1/2 cup sparkling water for a light, refreshing drink. Mix the “shrub” with vodka and a splash of soda or gin and tonic. Garnish with cool ocean breezes as the sun sets on a perfect summer day.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups blueberries
- 3-4 stems rosemary
- Vinegar – have fun and experiment! Balsamic is always delicious!
- Stir together sugar and water in a 3 quart saucepan, over medium high heat. Bring to a simmer and stir until sugar is dissolved.
- Add blueberries and rosemary to sugar syrup. Stir occasionally as fruit releases liquid and returns to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, pressing on solids to release their juices.
- Mix 4 parts fruit syrup to 1 part vinegar. Store in the refrigerator.