As it is summer in Estonia, one of the best things about being a travellor is that people will welcome you into their living rooms.
And not the ones inside their houses. In most of the suburban and regional towns you will find that almost everyone has a garden and a greenhouse for growing their own produce. You are automatically marshalled towards the best sections of the garden and commanded to eat straight from the plethora of vines and plants hanging low with all kinds of fruits, berries and vegetables.
They are very “house” proud people, and keen to share with you the fresh harvest of the summer. Combinations of fresh thick horticultural strawberries grow beside small potent wild strawberries. Peas plump and sweet, just basking in the sun waiting to be sampled. Raspberries ripening with that added punch of berry tartness that give them a real kick. Brooding tomatoes pulling down their vines with their weight, so too the bulbous green capsicums. Salad leaves of various lettuces stand straight and tall vying for your attention.
And then there is dill. Dill is everywhere. It is unofficially the national herb of Estonia. If you can add dill to it, then it generally will be served that way.
The growers themselves are insistent that you have your fill and do not leave empty handed. Yes, there is great generosity at work here. But I suspect that it’s all down for the lavish praise that you can help but bestow fro their efforts.
It’s rare to see this kind of thing in Australia. I remember that my grandmother had rhubarb, a massive mulberry tree and other produce that we would feast on every time we would come to visit. Standing in the sunlight of the early evening and crunching on a fist full of fresh peas I think that maybe we might be losing a great way to welcome guests into our homes.