For as long as I can remember, we have harvested wild berries.
As a kid it seemed like we ate them faster than the bucket was filled, but when the time was ripe we knew were to go and it was mostly up and down the dirt roads of East Texas. We had to watch out for snakes, as I remember, but the berries were all the sweeter because of the danger.
Talk about danger! In Alaska, back in the early 80’s, I took a community class to determine what berries were safe to eat. Yes. There are some that are dangerous, but once you learned to recognize the good ones from the bad ones, then you only had to know “when” and “where”. In Alaska you had no snakes to worry about. But bears loved berries. So we were taught to make lots of noise while picking, yelling, clacking wood sticks together. Today you could simply play a portable song that would warn the bear of your intentions.
For 11 years we have enjoyed wild berries on our property. Blackberries, we call them, but they are probably known by some other exotic title. Some berry bushes produce better when cut to the ground at the end of a season, and the tractor is the best tool in my arsenal…. Other’s need careful pruning. Still, others pop out of the strangest places – here a year and then no return visit.
The one thing I note, berries are not always faithful. Some years they produce abundantly, and in other years they barely show up. Regardless of the potential, we are always ready to pick, rinse and freeze for off season use. Namely, a blackberry cobbler!
Not every berry should be picked. Animals enjoy them, and they are probably necessary to their diet. So, you should always leave some berries behind for the wild creatures. Each year, my dogs graze the lower berries on the vine, ripping a branch through their teeth and enjoying a mouth full of harvest. If the berries are too high, then they stand next to us and hope we will give them treats.
Harvest is hard work. The berries do not come cheaply. Thorns, scratches and entanglements are often experienced. It seems the juiciest berry is found deeper in the vine. Reaching through the thorns and leaves, pushing back the vines, leaning as far as you can reach. All for that simple cluster of sweetness.
Was it worth it? Yes.
When Adam and Eve failed their test, the curse of God produced many struggles. The one thing that seemed to be a blessing instead of a curse was the thorn and it’s offspring.Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
(Genesis 3:18 KJV)
The thorn produced something they did not have to work for. It simply brought forth its fruit for them. But they still had to harvest. As noted, harvest can always be a brutal experience.Everything else Adam and Eve did to survive came as a result of the sweat on their face (Genesis 3:19). It took work. For the fruit of the thorn, all they had to do was harvest what they had not planted!
As you enjoy the berry, thank the good Lord for putting some thorns in our path. Their sweetness is often worth the effort!