The cherry tree in our front yard exploded into white and pink blossoms a few days after we moved in. A few weeks later while walking in our woods every day, we quickly noticed a profusion of white blossoms. Baby flowers everywhere! The cherry blossoms were great for attracting all the butterflies and bumble bees, but the blossoms in the woods turned into blackberries. That was when we started to learn that this magical place we moved to is perfect for growing berries.
I’ve written about strawberries and they are divine. However, they are also highly cultivated and chemical laden. I love that they are local and fresh as they can be, but still it takes a heavy dose of chemistry to get them to grow so big and so perfect. Blueberries and black berries are different. Blueberries need acidic soil…acidic to the point that it can kill most everything else. Luckily, our soil just happens to accommodate them (I have to amend our garden soil for the vegetables which prefer an acidity closer to neutral). They are hardy and more bug resistant than other fruit so need much less intervention to produce amazing fruit. Blackberries are a weed here and the wild ones in our woods are tart and delicious. The thorns, though, are a force to be reckoned with. Our first year my enthusiasm motivated me to pick over 100 cups of blackberries out of our woods. This year I opted to just go to a berry farm and get my labor force to help me pick easy domesticated berries…sans thorns. Blackberries are officially my favorite fruit and they are really beautiful from a purely aesthetic point of view. Side bonus is everyone got a hearty afternoon snack.
As an aside…Layna loves being outside as long as the temperature is between 70 and 72 degrees. She doesn’t love heat and she doesn’t love cold. If it weren’t for the free berries she would have mutinied on both outings.
I also took my littlest workers to our favorite blueberry place. It’s on an honor system, so you park, go pick, and leave money in a lock box. It’s brilliant. The deal with my littles was that they could just sit and eat while I took an hour to fill my basket but they were absolutely forbidden to eat out of said basket. Blueberries take forever to pick and I didn’t want to spend all afternoon on one gallon.
Black and Blue jam is amazing. I don’t know if it’s a thing anywhere else outside my house, but I don’t care. The true black and blue jam has blackberries and blueberries of course, but also has elder berry juice and chokecherry juice. Unfortunately, the heat didn’t allow for elder berries or chokecherries. But we soldiered on and still got seven amazing pints of sugar-free black and blue jam to get us through the year.