One of those particularly human things that I’m quite good at is finding significance and pattern in various events where no such pattern may exist. On 21 June 2010, two nights before I’m vacating my Brooklyn apartment, I go out to the small grocer at Seventh Avenue and 10th Street in Park Slope. Greeting me at the door was a display of blueberries—that’d been grown by Columbia Fruit Farms of Hammonton, New Jersey!
Boy oh boy, did that feel like a sign! Yes, with my creative resolve in place, so too was my sensitivity to all things Columbia. In days past, maybe I was numb to the name? No matter, seeing blueberries thus labeled helped me feel my path was open and waiting.
So last night, I’m in the District of Columbia and I walk down from Columbia Heights to the grocer at 14th and W and there they are once more. The week before I’d been eating blueberries from another Hammonton grower and wondered if the Columbia label would jump out at me again. And man, let me tell you—that it did right after I started my blog, you know that means something…or not. I now want bigger signs affirming my path—fiscal sponsorship would be a great one!
It seems that Columbia Fruit Growers gets their name from Hammonton’s nearby Columbia Road (the name Airport Road seems to be usurping the Columbia name). Columbia Road is crossed by Union Road. This may suggest this area was developed right after the Civil War. Geographic naming patterns following that great conflagration will be a topic in and of itself for a later date.
And you may ask yourself, why was this guy checking out whence came his blueberries? I’m a blueberry geek. I watch the blueberry provenance march up the coast from Florida, into Georgia and North Carolina. New Jersey’s cultivated blueberries are delicious, but in Maine they can be harvested from the wild (a delicacy I have yet to enjoy). When I see a box labeled Nova Scotia—well, I know it’s all over until next year.
I hope to someday stop by and say hello at Columbia Fruit Growers. And, I look forward to going to Columbia, Maine, where I see reference to something called a blueberry barren. A blueberry barren? Man I wanna see one of those!