"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Raspberries (Making Up for Lost Time)

Raspberry season is almost over. We pretty much missed it by going to Mexico for most of July. Although Whatcom county produces prodigious quantities of raspberries (I'm pretty sure it is the top raspberry producing county in the country) the season is quite short. For a few weeks everyone is drowning in beautifully fragrant ruby colored fruit, and then - BAM - it's all gone for another year. Lynden puts on a Raspberry Festival in the middle of July every year, and it's a quintessential small-town fair, with a raspberry queen, and all-you-can-eat raspberry sundaes, and a stage for the local kids to put on dance recitals and stuff like that. I was sorry to miss it this year - all-you-can-eat raspberry sundaes are totally my thing.


In fact, raspberries are my favorite fruit. I absolutely adore raspberries, although I only like the good ones, and they can be hard to find. Most of the farms around here are large, commercial operations and they are monocultures of one variety, bred for shipping well (raspberries are the tenderest of fruits) and usually sprayed with some kind of crap, and unfortunately my work with the local Hispanic organizations has taught me way too much about how the agricultural workers are treated on the large farms.

I had to devote some serious research to finding an organic U-pick raspberry farm that was still open this week, but I found it! For you locals, it's AAA berries on the West Pole road. They use the honor system, and berries are $1.50 a pound. We've made it out there twice this week, and now I have six gallons of raspberries in the freezer, plus a quart of syrup, and also we have all gorged ourselves on fresh raspberries and cream. I'd like to make it out once more before the season is really and truly over because when you love raspberries like I love raspberries, six gallons is just not enough.

Of course, it's also blueberry season. I become an absolute slave-driver where blueberries are concerned. I'll pack a nice picnic lunch and bring the transistor radio and a few gallons of water and just flat-out tell the family "we aren't leaving until we have twenty pounds of blueberries, so get pickin'." Last year I had blueberries until well into January and I'd like to beat that record this year.

Then, of course, there's blackberries...

9 comments:

Garden Lily said...

Those are all my favourites, too. I have a golden raspberry in my garden which produces two crops per year, is a very mild sweet flavour, and is quite vigorous, spreading nicely. I'm not certain, but I seem to remember the variety was "Fall Gold" - highly recommended!

Penelope said...

Ooh, I had that same blonde raspberry at my old house, now I miss it really bad :-( but I shouldn't complain, I have a nice patch of red ones going here. I need to go somewhere that I can gather enough to get me through the winter, or at least September....

Olive said...

I wish I lived in the US, raspberries are VERY expensive here, around $6:00AU for 200 grams !! I have to wait for my neighbours to decide to go on vacation while their raspberries are still bearing fruit and (with their permission of course) we can pick as many as we can find. At my reckoning a pound here would cost $14:00. Could be wrong, never was good at math.

The Idiot Gardener said...

I am planning on raspberries next year. I do love them. In fact, only the other night I made a pear and raspberry crumbled with a liberal splash of calvados!

Aimee said...

Olive, what about blackberries? All over the US they are an invasive weed that bears tons of fruit very similar to a black raspberry. Do you have those in Australia?

Olive said...

Sure do, would you like me to send you some? We spend a fortune on weed spray to TRY to keep them under control but I fear we are fighting a losing battle.
Its still winter here but yesterday was an Undian summer type of day and I saw the first snake for the year (a red bellied black) having a sun bath on the warm road.

AnyEdge said...

Ahh the forces berry picking marches. And mom never made us do what you're talking about. Of course, mom didn't fear the imminant apocalypse (zing!).

Aimee said...

don't you remember mom giving us a huge kettl;e and saying she's give us five dollars (VAST sum) if we filled it all the way up with blackberries? Now, in my infinite mom-wisdom I know she was just trying to get us to stay outside and she didn't care about the berries.
We never did make the $5

Andy Brown said...

So what do you do with the blueberries? I imagine freezing is the thing, but we don't have a chest freezer right now.

It'll be moot until next year since we saw two timber rattlers in our Pennsylvania blueberry picking and my wife is refusing to go out unless I get her some waders!