There’s no better way to get infested with ticks and chiggers than picking wild blackberries. Then there’s the stained fingers, sticky palms, and scratched ankles and arms.
Ah, But There’s an Alternative
Last week Lucy and I picked cultivated blackberries. Tapping into the vines at Eckert’s Orchard in Bellville made the pickin’ less wild. More civilized.
A tractor-pulled cart delivers you to the fields, where berries have been tenderly nourished, watered, fed, and pruned. You’ll see people from around the world, families with young children, even handicapped persons roaming the rows. Both workers and pickers are chatty, which adds to the pleasure of the outing.
What’s So Great about Blackberries?
To start with, blackberries are loaded with fiber as well as vitamin C. According to researcher Michael Greger, “Women with a higher intake of berries appeared to have delayed cognitive ageing by 2.5 years. So it’s like your brain is 2.5 years younger, if you’re eating berries.” (That’s not a lot, but every little bit counts.)
The Sweet Taste of Nature
Admittedly, Lucy and I nibbled on a few berries as we went along the rows. It kept us inspired to continue and we picked 4 cartons quickly.
You might call blackberries nature’s candy, just right to pop into your mouth anytime. The berries can also be used in smoothies, as a topping for dessert, and for pies and cobblers. If you want something more spirited, try blackberry wine. What ever you do, it’s gonna be BERRY good.
Where the Wild Things Grow
When I was lucky enough to find a good blackberry patch at the farm, it would’ve taken me far longer. So what’s the difference? The cultivated ones are usually sweeter and larger, but the wild ones have more fiber.
Recipes for All Those Blackberries
These recipes are packed with juicy goodness: Blackberry Cobbler and Blackberry Pie. And one that’s a favorite of my daughter-in-law, Lisa. Pear Blackberry Cobbler. made with 4 soft pears and a carton of blackberries.