About three times a week, we wander through our wild blackberry patch behind the greenhouse searching for a very elusive treat. I believe there is an element of treasure hunting in such a place that is not found in more carefully maintained farming operations.
To compare, the blueberry patch is well groomed, organized in rows containing consistent varieties so that the row gets ripe all at once. When we pick blueberries it is easy to discern whether a bush is worth picking, or if we should move on to a more heavily producing row. In the blackberry patch there is no such neat order. The branches and brambles shoot out wildly in all directions. Some parts of the patch have thick, mature branches, and other parts have smaller limbs. Yet this thickly grown patch would not be so treacherous were it not for one more element:
They go by many names. Carter calls them jaggers. Thorns. Stickers. Needles. or my personal favorite: “OUCH!!” If it were not for these, we would simply tromp through, grab the berries, and get out. But the reality is a much more ginger operation. We twist and wince and reach and duck all in a quest for the plump, sweet blackberry! There is much agony. From across the patch you hear, “Aaughgh!” Carter, when he comes to work with us, will always ask, “what?” “What do you think, Carter!?” is the common response these days. “got jagged?,” he offers.
For all of the toil and pain, I consider blackberries one of my favorite foods to harvest. They are also one of my favorite to eat! Below is a look into the canning process of some jam that Mary, Maggie, and Brittany (Maggie’s friend) made. I will admit here for everyone that I helped none at all. Yet here are the pictures.