After a stop at the food coop where I picked up a couple of apples, we headed over to our CSA and were given a choice between taking home raspberries or strawberries. I chose raspberries, as I know that I can stop by the farm stand three minutes from our apartment tomorrow morning for strawberries.
As if this wasn't enough, we took a walk down by the lake after dinner and discovered to our delight that Thimbleberry, Dewberry, and Blackcap season was fully upon us. Thimbleberries, for those of you who aren't familiar with them, are these bright red berries that look sort of like raspberries but with smaller seeds. They grow along woods and have a delicious wild flavor. Some people make jam out of them, but we prefer the "pick and eat" method. Saves us having to carry them home, where we'd just eat them straight out of the bowl anyway. Dewberries are native trailing members of the blackberry family-- they are very sweet, though a little seedy. Blackcaps, or black raspberries, are Anna's favorites. They look like little round purple raspberries and they grow on bushes that are pretty few and far between, making each one an exciting find. They have a complex flavor-- Anna claims they have undertones of bacon, and I think they taste a little like licorice. Either way they're delicious. This year seems to be a bumper crop for all three kinds of berries, and since Anna and I ate about a pound of them between us today we're doing our part to make sure they don't get out of control.
I used to be able to take Connor with me on the trail to pick berries, but unfortunately it isn't wheelchair accessible and he's a little big now to fit in a sling. I'd probably be dangling him directly into the brambles anyway whenever I bent over-- not something he'd exactly appreciate. He's too wiggly to carry on a hip for long periods, so that's out too. Luckily Anna's husband Dan was able to watch him while we went down to pick, and I'm sure I'll use some respite care for the epic Blackberry Picking of Doom expedition we'll embark on later in the summer. Last year was a poor year for berries, and we picked 80 cups. In three hours. The blackberries this year are already eight feet high and they still have at least a month's worth of growing to do before the first ones ripen up. I may need to buy a new freezer in preparation.
Connor is pretty funny with these berries-- he loves the thimbleberries and the blackcaps, but he doesn't like the seeds, so basically he'll hold the berry in his mouth for a long time, suck on it until he gets most of the juice out, and then spit out the skin, pulp and all of the seeds. This can be pretty messy. Blueberries, which seem like they would be the best fruit to feed him, don't work because he hates them unless they are in blueberry smoothie form. He doesn't care for strawberries either.
Oh well. More for me.