Berry Bliss, Part 2

Earlier this summer I wrote about the bliss of strawberry season and the joys of picking local berries on a beautiful day. Our patch of land was once home to a local berry farm (not terribly successful as an economic endeavour, from what little we know) and has close to a couple of acres of Pathfinder raspberry bushes. These are badly in need of some sustained attention, something we haven’t been able to provide just yet. Just recently, however, we discovered another type of raspberry cane growing in patches on our land.

Now, we’ve already learned that raspberries are amazingly good at ensuring their continued existence by putting out something called basal shoots or suckers which allow a new plant to emerge some distance away. We’ve become accustomed to finding single raspberry canes in odd places across our property (adding to the general thorniness of the place!). The latest raspberries plants that we came across in (yet another) overgrown, grassy part of our land, appear to be wild and are very different from the obvious rows of Pathfinder canes. They are in full fruit right now and so we are simultaneously harvesting them and making some attempt to clear the ground around the plants so that they might produce better next year (who knows?).

Our first harvest about a week ago didn’t furnish us with vats of berries demanding quick conversion into jam, but it was delightful to return to the house with enough berries to make the most scrumptious raspberry cream cheese coffee cake recipe, whip up a raspberry fool (our youngest loves to make any kind of berry ‘fool’, which for him is vanilla yogurt and smushed berries lovingly combined), and sprinkle generously on oatmeal at breakfast the next day. I’m planning to spend an hour picking tomorrow so that I can make that raspberry cake again – it was so good!

On a walk out today to rescue an old abandoned porcelain sink from the woods on our property (there are several “junk heaps” around the place that have yielded great opportunities for recycling), my husband and I stopped to inspect another long neglected area – the apple orchard. We knew that there was a mix of crab apple, eating and cooking apples out there, but this is the first chance we’ve had to really start to get to grips with the varieties on our doorstep. We were extremely pleasanty surprised to take a bite out of one sample that is clearly a Macintosh (not quite ready, but nearly there), and sampled other varieties that we are simply not familiar with.

Earlier this summer we made a tiny dent in the huge task of cutting down the brush and small trees that are choking the apple trees, and we vowed to do as much as we can this fall to reclaim the orchard. The apple is such an amazing food when it comes to storage possibilities and I wish we could have started this job last year, but, well, this is where we are and that’s where we need to start from. Visiting friends and family will be greeted with clippers and small saws after today…

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