It’s summertime – an abundance of wild berries in Canada. It’s a time berry picking opportunities abound. Depending on the location, you can pick various berries – strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. I love wild berries – something rare and exotic – may appear unpleasant compared to the farmed ones on store shelves. But the wild berries remain my all-time favorite. Wildberries continue to survive and thrive in extreme climates.
“Father, you should come out and pick berries,” Bud Wald, a senior parishioner, offered an invite. I responded, “Why not? Just let me know in advance.” I thought about scheduling it, little did I realize that some berries don’t hold on long – you need to be there to pick them at the right time; otherwise, they are too ripe or dried up.
Even with COVID-19, farm patrons introduced pandemic protocols for safety concerns for berry picking activities. Usually, its good manners to avoid eating berries while filling the pale. But 2020 pandemic norms almost forbid it to reduce the point of contact between touching the mouth and the plants.
There I was on at Bud’s place – an acreage with a beautiful view.
You need to understand I live in a place that only has less than two months of summer with longer daylight hours closed to midnight. I know some will feel absurd terming 27 to 31 degrees Celsius as a blazing summer. I find less than 12 summer days in this temperature range in Northern Canada.
Bud led me to the Saskatoons, superfood berries with higher antioxidants levels than blueberries. Our berry picking exercise began right in front of the saskatoons bushes. We started with an empty pale, tied to the waist in an old-fashioned way with a rope.
It was mostly a silent adventure, occasionally interrupted by Bud’s witty comments and berry picking childhood stories. “Are there enough berries to pick?” Bud said.
I moved into picnicking raspberries, tasting yellow raspberries for the first time – filling a pale of the normal ones.
Remember, blackcurrants ice-cream from Baskin Robins. Little did I realize that I will stand in front of a black currents bush in a peak season.
Bud has a variety of cherries and berries, some farmed and others growing in the bush. Bud showed me the Red Currents and Gooseberries.
Anita, Bud’s wife, instructed how to preserve the berries – spread the berries on a cookie sheet and place them in the freezer.
You will wonder what I do with the berries. I never made a pie, neither jam nor syrups. I would love to try making wine out of berries. But that’s for another day. As of now, I plan to add a bunch of frozen berries in my crazy breakfast smoothie.
Bud tells me, “Birds eat the berries before there are fully ripe.” I also learned that the berries are delayed this year; birds had left with the young ones even before berries peaked during the summer.
Bud enjoys picking berries since childhood, “It is so relaxing,” he adds. I did feel the same.
Seeing my fascination for berry picking, Bud jokingly called me a “berry moocher.”
Something for you …
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