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Wild Blackberries

September 27, 2011

People who weren’t raised in Oregon are often surprised when I tell them that we didn’t consider blackberries bushes so much a cash crop as a weed. Yes, I know that Oregon is the No. 1 producer of blackberries, but when I was growing up (oh, so many years ago), we found them an annoyance more than anything else. It wasn’t uncommon to find the long, pliable canes growing on a quiet roadside, engulfing a fence or surrounding a power pole.

Blackberry brambles bending a fence line under their weight.

The berries would come on green, turn a raspberry red before finally taking on their deep black hue. Depending on the year, I remember finding the first berries as early as June and the last berries as late as early October.

While we could pick blackberries in our own front yard, harvesting the fruit was often scary for me. Not only was it easy to get scratched and stabbed by the large thorns, the canes also harbored many spiders and we would often find black widows among the leaves. Still, we would return to the same brambles year after year, searching for early summer fruit.

When I recently came upon a path bounded by blackberry bushes, I decided to stop and take a few pictures — both to share and to remember how lucky we are to live in a place where such treasures grow in the wild.

Blackberry brambles with Willamette Valley farm land in the distance.

The rainbow of blackberry colors.

With Oregon's cool summer, the blackberries came on later this year.

From → Random Beauty

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