A raspberry bush grows in my parents' backyard. It's been there for at least twenty years, faithfully returning with its offerings of red gems every summer. As far as I remember, it just sprouted up one day and my mom thought it was a weed at first. Or my bubbe may have planted it. She did things like that in those days, just came over and planted herself in the grass and began seeding or transplanting. When I was visiting my parents in July, my mom told me that the bush was bursting with fruit and I should pick some. One morning, I went outside with a plastic blue cereal bowl and filled it. Some of the raspberries were so ripe they crumbled as I pulled them off the stem. Others had little bugs on them or were partially eaten by whatever wildlife beat me to it.
I brought my brimming bowl inside. The raspberries were small, about half the size of those grown commercially. It had been a long time since I had fresh ones from the backyard. I popped a few in my mouth. The sweetness surprised me. The berries were small, but full of flavor. It made me sad that the ones at the store - even organic ones that sell for $5 or more a pint - were only half as delicious.
Maybe it is the pollution from the highway in front of my parents' house that makes the raspberries so sweet.