When I was a kid, I loved picking berries. I used to break summer up into four seasons; June was Strawberry picking season, the first part of July was Raspberry picking season, the latter part was Bakeapple season, and august was Blueberry season. In between some of those seasons, we picked other berries, mostly for selling. Those varieties included Gooseberries, Squashberries, and Red Currants. I made a ton of money selling berries, and still do.
In July, the wild strawberries grew abundantly around our house. Dad figured that some of his tame berries mixed with the wild varieties, giving a bigger than usual berry. During Strawberry season, the air has a sweet smell that really lets you know that summer has arrived. It is still a fragrance that I enjoy.
I have always loved picking Raspberries. I don’t really like the berry, so I can actually pick more than I eat. Raspberry picking has its challenges, such as the thorny bush that it chooses to grow on, and the fact that the biggest berries always seem to grow in hard to reach places. I remember having my bucket almost full and climbing to the top of a bank to retrieve the biggest berries, and falling and losing all my berries. Greed isn’t a good thing!
The other challenging part about Raspberry picking is that the berries always sink in the bucket, so filling the plastic beef bucket seems to take forever. I used to get $35 per bucket of those berries, good money for a kid.
After the Raspberries had all fallen to the ground, the Bakeapples (or Cloudberries as they are sometimes referred to) begin to ripen. Bakeapples grow in bogs and marshes in the back country. While working as a logger, myself and my Dad spotted a bog hidden among the thick forest. The bog appeared red in colour, and upon investigation, we found the entire area covered with ripe (but not too ripe) Bakeapples. We filled every container that day, and we have returned to this spot many times throughout the years to pick the delicious berries. The Newfoundland variety of Bakeapple is one of most delicious, with its robust apple flavour, and the tasty jams and jellies that can be made from the berry.
The Bakeapple doesn’t live very long, the berries turn very soft and almost jelly like within the first week after ripening. This brings us to the tastiest berry of all, the Blueberry. There are three different varieties of Blueberry, and they all grow in basically the same area. One type grows on a stalk,the other in bushes; while the other type grows close to the ground. The three of them have distinct flavours, and when mixed in a jam or jelly, the taste is fantastic. Talk about something good coming from something bad. Wherever a major forest fire has burned timber and did its damage, the blueberry makes its presence.
We got word the other day that an area just west of my home was covered with blueberries. About five years back, a large forest fire devastated the area and now we are able to reap the benefits. In just three hours, I had three gallons of blueberries, most of which will go to fill homemade pies, muffins, and other recipes. The rest will be eaten whole in cereals, or made into my favorite jam, Blueberry! There were so many plump ripe berries that you could grab them from the bush by the handfulls. I think I may have ate a gallon of the berries while picking them. Love them!
Can’t eat too many of these tasty berries though, the super anti-oxidant super fruit can also lead one to the bathroom quite often if too many are ate. Some good though!