"They have tayberries," my friend Ann Fisher gushed as she rushed up to me last weekend at the Oak Park Farmers' Market
"Wha…," I burbled, in my half-awake, B.C. (Before Coffee) state.
"Tayberries. They're like raspberries, only more tart. Hurry," she counseled, pointing to Skibbe's stand at the west end of the market, "there are only three left."
"What did she say?" a woman who'd been listening to our conversation asked.
I was actually reluctant to answer (didn't want her to get there before me), but when I did, we both rushed over to Skibbe's and each bought the last two small cartons of tayberries.
Leaving the market, I ran into another friend, Howard Raik, who informed me that he actually bought the third-to-last box of tayberries ($3.50).
Apparently, tayberries are a "thing."
Tayberries are also, indeed, a lot like raspberries, a touch more tart as Fisher explained, but also juicier and, I believe, more tender. They need no sugar to soften them up or make them sweeter. I washed them off and ate them by themselves so that I could appreciate their unique characteristics. I liked them, perhaps because raspberries, their near cousins, are one of my favorite fruits, and because tayberries are a variation on the raspberry theme.
When eating tayberries, take care: some have thin stems armed with tiny prickles that can hurt a lot…especially if you drop one on the floor and step on it with bare feet.
This time of year in the Midwest, after abundant rain and much warm weather, there are all kinds of things growing and going on sale at the Oak Park Farmers' Market. But if you want tayberries, you'd better buy them next weekend because, as Fisher warned me. "They have a very short growing window and they will be gone soon."
*WTF is acronym for "What at The Farmers' market." Why, what did you think the acronym meant?