St Patrick's day got me thinking about Irish cooking, and while I didn't prepare anything special for the occasion, I did pull out my Irish Food and Cooking cook book. As I was flipping through it I noticed, as I had often before, the beautiful black currant fool. The step by step pictures show a beautiful deep purple pink puree being folded into satin white whipped cream, the effect a beautiful striking swirl of color and cream. I look to the ingredients ready to buy a little batch of beauty for my self and am then deeply puzzled. Black currants... huh. Never seen those before.
Or had I? Looking through my seed catalog, passed the yesterdays news novelty plants, after the blueberries and raspberries and just before the fruit trees I find them. Sort of. Red currants. That wont create the heavenly swirl. It would be like pink sauce. Cant have that. Gooseberries, just under them, are almost translucent, so those wont work. either. Then I look to the curious variety 'Jostaberry'. Its darker, but not a black currant. Its a mix between black currants and gooseberries, but where, pray tell, is the other parent?
I then proceed to comb the net. None of my usual nurseries have them. I find some in the UK. Big breakthrough. I'm then combing the US importation website and lists of banned plants. Maybe its illegal to import it, who knows.
Now the real breakthrough is when I come across the Currant Company's website. They have a history of the Black Currant in the United States. The title of the article? "Forbidden" U.S. History of the Black Currant. Turns out its been banned for somewhere around 100 years due to its connection to white pine rust disease. Black currants pass along the disease, along with red currants, native currants and several varieties of gooseberries. The list goes on, but only Black Currants were banned.
Well, no longer. In New York then ban was recently appealed, and so started the Currant Company. They've been selling both currant juice and whole currants for a while, but their goods are not widely available, usually shipped, and they tend to be expensive as well. The lucky part? They've started selling plants too. Mail order. In this one site I hit the mother load.
A long and boring story made shorter, I ordered two for about $40 with shipping (the two day shipping is over half of that). Now I must wait for them to come. They dont ship for a while yet bare root. After that, I must find a place to plant them, prune them, and wait for berries that might not come till next year.
Till then... there should at least be some good tomatoes to eat.