Picking Blackberries

| 7/2/2014 4:10:00 PM

April FreemanI was out in the fields this morning and I noticed that the blackberries are starting to ripen. I snagged a handful to munch on while I was walking.

Blackberries were the first “crop” harvested on our farm. When we moved in, the grass was interlaced with blackberry vines, and the berries were as large as the end of my thumb! I love picking berries for several reasons.

First, they are free. Second, I don’t have to do anything to the berries, besides pick them. No watering, weeding or spraying. I love it when Mother Nature gardens for me! Third, they are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Last of all, they are so tasty. I love to eat them fresh, make them into jam, and bake them into cobblers.

Here are a few berrying tips.

1. If you don’t have any wild berries on your property, ask farmers and neighbors starting in late June or early July. Many times, people have plenty of thickets and can tell you exactly where the best places to pick are. Some folks may not have the time to pick themselves and won’t mind at all if you help yourself. A nice, neighborly thing to do would be to leave them a quart or two of picked berries, give them a jar of jam, or bake them a cobbler in the days after you’ve picked.

2. Always ask before you pick. You wouldn’t help yourself to someone’s tomatoes in their garden, and berries are the same, even though the property owner didn’t plant them. Additionally, you never know what that person has sprayed on their property, so asking is always best.