One can be forgiven for jumping straight to the third and final section of Tara Austen Weaver's Growing Berries and Fruit Trees in the Pacific Northwest. That's where you find an eye-catching, salivation-inducing selection of recipes and photos of jams, fruit caramels, crisps, cakes and crumbles.
Let's face it, while some of us enjoy the entire process of growing and tending to fruit trees and berry bushes, a lot of us are mostly interested in the end product, and not just the raw raspberry or apple. We want the berries inside a tasty muffin, or the apples intermingling in a pie (yes, I will have ice cream with that!).
Weaver's book, though, makes pre-eating stages of fruits and berries seem just as appealing thanks to her breezy, highly readable way with words and expertise as both a master gardener and creative cook. The Seattle-based author covers the best time of year for planting a wide array of berries and fruits, and which ones will thrive in the eastern part of the state versus west of the Cascades. Whether discussing blueberries or pears, or more exotic efforts like kiwi berries and quinces, Weaver tackles plant maintenance, pest and disease prevention, harvesting and preserving.
Which of course leads us to that delectable final section, where in addition to baked goods Weaver displays recipes for sauces, drinks and fruit leather as well. All of it is illustrated with stunning photographs, making this the kind of book you'll keep for a lifetime — for yourself or a special green thumb in your life.