Hunting for wild black berries

With inestimable pleasure I share with you my sisters’ (sibling # 4)  food memories of our  early childhood.

“Hunting for wild black berries was a little like panning for gold. It took a great deal of effort to gather a small amount. Sometimes before dawn on summer mornings my mother would gather all the kids, pile us into the car and drive far out into the country, usually off some dusty dirt road. We would look for the tangled thorny vines of the blackberry bush. Looking for that elusive wild blackberry. We would work our way deep into the bushes picking each little delicate berry. Our reward came after the blackberry pie was made, fresh pastry, blackberries slightly sweetened,

best eaten with a scoop of Vanilla ice cream.

A wild black berry is about half the size of a commercial one, but there is no comparison in the taste, it is much sweeter than its counterpart”.

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2 thoughts on “Hunting for wild black berries

  1. Beautiful – here’s a piece I wrote recently which remembers wild blackberry picking….
    Behind the buildings that house the separate girls and the boys bunks is a wooded area and after breakfast I leave camp to explore the wilderness. Here is a magical world, a secret, unkempt, unfenced garden that I have been deprived of till now. Other than finding and catching fireflies there has been a paucity of nature on the streets of Borough Park. Here there is an abundance of life forms and I trudge through the greens and browns in a solitary, magical bliss. The lone human in the life teeming woods, the colors of the flowers spin my eyes on fire, even the faint ones. I can’t believe the scrawlings on the petals, fine point ink prints, lavenders and purples, peach and orange, the colors freeze framing me in fascination, before I have words to describe the range of subtleties. I pick and eat fistfuls of blackberries, watch unnamed bugs crawl, hop, jump and fly around me. Butterflies are all around for the chasing and catching. I learn to be as silent as a flower and find I can ever so slowly place my small hands around them without them noticing and close them quickly, feeling the tickling in my palms as they try to fly away until I release them, which I do. Two years later a nature counselor is hired and he teaches us how to place butterflies and moths in embalming fluid and pin them on white cotton under glass and frame them with black masking tape. For both years, I receive the nature award from Mark, who takes us on walks to unearth salamanders orange with tiny spots and treefrogs and snakes, all of which I am already on familiar terms with. Mark is one of the first and only adults who quietly understands and respects me.

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