If you’ve been around the Facebook page, you know that there are ripe blueberries to be found at Charlotte’s Blueberry Park in Tacoma! Never been? It’s a public park, and thanks to the loving care of volunteers like the late Charlotte Valbert, there are blueberries free for the picking and enjoying.
Now, a few readers reported going and finding only green berries. Reader Jennifer solved the mystery, explaining that intrepid neighborhood ladies get there early. She says you can still find blue ones if you go further back. And reader Jamie left this report this weekend:
Went this morning with my Mom and 2- 2yr, we came home with 8lbs of blueberries!! We got there around 8:30 and only a few cars by the time we left there was at least 20. We picked berries for 2 hours and only did half of the park!! I strongly suggest getting there early! Thanks, Jamie!
Over here we’re excited about blackberries. Yes, they’re a totally obnoxious weed, but this time of year those prickly vines are full of juicy goodness.
The kind you see most are Himalayan blackberries. These are the big, fat berries growing on bushes with thick, thorny stalks. The slightly smaller ones are called Evergreen blackberries. They have the more delicate, lacy looking leaves. You can see pictures of both here.
Neither type is native, but they’ve thrived around here like gangbusters. Left to their own devices, they’ll take over your yard in no time.
There is also a trailing blackberry that grows very close to the ground. It’s actually a native plant, but much less common. The kind you see at the store are probably cultivated, thornless blackberries-but really, you’re not going to pay for blackberries this time of year, are you?
It’s not hard to find a good picking spot. We try to find an area away from the heaviest traffic that hasn’t been chemically sprayed. Do keep in mind that berries will stain and blackberry thorns can be serious business-especially around eyes and your kiddos delicate skin, so do be cautious.
Now, I’m really not trying to add a lot of drama here, but if you’re new to the area, you should also know that every once in a while, you will find poison oak mixed in with blackberry-especially near the water or on bluffs. The rule is, “Leaves of three; leave them be.” Just take a look at your blackberry spot before you start picking, and if you see another bush/tree mixed in with the berry vines, make sure you’re not looking at this (scroll down for the one on the left that says, “Summertime Flowering,”) and you’ll be fine. They tend to be shiny, but the unique grouping of 3 is your best bet for steering clear.
Blackberries are delicious right off the vine but they also freeze great and make super tasty freezer jam, pie, and cobbler. If I can get my mom to part with her cobbler recipe, I’ll share it in a future post.
Got a favorite picking spot or recipe to share? Or are blackberries just a thorn in your side? Either way, I love to hear your comments!