Blackberry Picking

A couple weeks ago, my mom, dad, and I made a quick trip out to our land to flag the location of our new driveway. While we were there, we noticed the blackberries were ripe. We had known they would be ready soon, but hadn’t planned to pick any this particular trip. Not to miss the moment, we grabbed a couple plastic baggies we happened to find in the car and went to work.

When I was little, we lived in a tiny logging town in the Oregon Cascades. On of my favorite memories of those years are the blackberries — technically marionberries. They fought yearly to take over our backyard, and we kids enjoyed many a warm, sweet snack during our adventures among the brambles. The grownups were more intentional, and I remember happy picking expeditions, filling Tupperware bowls and cooking pots before the berries were baked into cobblers or frozen for winter treats.

Wild berries were just a part of life — a simple pleasure I took for granted.

Our spontaneous blackberry harvest this summer brought back those memories. Only the Missouri sun was warmer, and we had to fight iridescent green June bugs for our spoil. We only gathered about a quart, and I have to admit they were not as sweet as I hoped. But they were the first berries we picked from our land — a sort of first-fruits of long held dreams.

I steamed and sweetened the berries, then churned them into a batch of ice cream. Homemade ice cream is always a favorite, but this time it was different — my brother called it almost spiritual. It tasted like home.

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