Blackberries Are Ripening in Shenandoah

blackberries

blackberries

Blackberries are coming in on the farm now. They started turning about two weeks ago, and I’ve consistently picked enough for my morning breakfast. I love blackberries over plain yogurt drizzled with local honey. Tim doesn’t care for berries, mostly because of the seeds, so this morning task is mine alone.

The main patch is in the center of the roundabout at the end of our lane. The thorns in the brambles are small and sharp, and because the old growth wasn’t trimmed, it’s hard to reach the fruit, which means my arms and legs are covered in fine scratches and a few small punctures. It’s worth it, though–the flavor is so much more complex than the large cultivated fruit I generally enjoy this time of year.

I’ve always enjoyed picking wild blackberries. When we were little, my sister and I had little metal buckets that we’d take down to the local brier patch with Mom. We’d pick as long as we could in the summer heat (and when you’re a child, the heat doesn’t seem as strong). The clunk of berries in the bottom of the bucket slowly evolved to a softer thump as the buckets filled. If we had eaten a few less, the buckets would have filled a bit faster, but if we didn’t come out of the patch with purple fingers, lips, and shirts, we hadn’t made the most of the day.

blackberries in basket

blackberries in basket

Mom would rinse the berries and save some for fresh eating. The rest she would pile into her glass Pyrex dish, cover with a flour mixture and butter, and plop into the oven. The smell of the blackberry cobbler baking was warm, sweet, and bready. The carmelized fruit juice bubbling over the bread was always so tempting, and waiting for it to cool was torture. Served with a bit of grocery-store-brand vanilla ice cream, the dessert was worth the scratches, sunburned cheeks, and stained fingers.

Mom's blackberry cobbler

Mom's blackberry cobbler

I love to bake, but I haven’t made Mom’s cobbler. I’m not sure if it’s because I don’t think it will turn out the same or because blackberries I pick alone just aren’t as sweet as those I picked with my family. – Stacey Morgan Smith

*** This personal blog is comprised solely of the opinions, views, projects, and travels of its author, Stacey Morgan Smith. She is lucky enough to have loving family and friends whom she drags along with her on her adventures and whom she puts to work on her little farm. She uses this blog to help promote living in the mountains of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, from Roanoke to the Potomac River.**

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>