Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Bountiful blackberries of August

The blackberry bushes are groaning, heavy with fruit during this last week of August. It was amazing to watch the progression of ripening this year, from small green berries transforming to a soft pink then continually deepening in colour and growing in size. We have two areas of our property covered with dozens of bushes; the first is along the path leading to our beach and a second massive bush growing over the rock wall between our back lawn and our west field. Kerry and I had to severely cut back the unbearing "sucker" branches, which stretched out up to fifteen feet in some spots, in order to reach the branches with fruit.

Amazing the difference in size --and flavor---of the small blackberries growing in the sun down on the path to our beach versus those growing in the shade over the rock wall. The smaller berries, growing by the beach got 2 months of sun and are super sweet, the large ones, which grew slowly in the shade, are tart, juicy and dissolve on your tongue. They are so big, they are falling off the vine into your hands when you touch them. So big, they look grape-like. 

On the large bush, growing over the old stone property-dividing wall, the berries are in all stages of ripeness, from huge and plump and ready to pick to small and green and weeks ago from enjoying. 

We had a family picking session last night with Max, dad, Kerry and cousin Miles. Everyone got a little pricked by the long, thorny vines last night, as we all reached for the biggest, juiciest looking berries. Talking with my friend Kathy, last night, she was in the midst of making blackberry jelly with some of the berries she picked at her family's cottage. As Miles said, "Blackberries taste like summer."

One has to practically climb into the prickly bushes in order to reach some of the ripest berries. 
Pants and long sleeves are required.

--Monica Forrestall

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