Late August marks a farewell to many classic summery indulgences, among them lazy outdoor reading and barbecues. Happily, one of the season’s quintessential pastimes – fresh berry picking – still figures prominently on the calendar, providing you fill your bucket with the right berry.
August is the tail end of the picking season for these antioxidant-rich berries that protect against memory loss (and also taste pretty sublime). Carpets of wild blueberries grow in abundance throughout southern Canada, the Sierra Nevada, the Cascades, and much of the Eastern Seaboard. Maine is one of the world’s top blueberry producing areas. Further north, the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region of Quebec is home to the “blueberry circuit,” a 256-km bike trail that weaves past countless blueberry farms.
Plunging greedy hands through brambles in search of luscious berries is a late summer ritual for children up and down North America’s east and west coasts. Competition for the plumpest specimens can be fierce. It’s unknown whether any wars have been waged over blackberries. However, during the Civil War, truces were often called so that Union and Confederate soldiers could forage for the fruit, believed to be an effective cure for dysentery.
These beloved red berries belong to the same botanical family as blackberries –and roses! Pretty to look at, they’re also high in fiber and pack more Vitamin C in their juicy bodies than oranges. Unlike most other fruits, once picked, raspberries immediately cease to ripen; a useful trait for a berry whose flesh is pillowy soft. They can be found growing wild among brambles, often on the edges of forests.
Thimbleberries – also known as salmonberries – are close cousins to raspberries. However, unlike their famous kin, they grow on canes without prickles, which makes for painless picking. Smaller and softer than raspberries – and highly squishable – thimbleberries aren’t farmed commercially. Popular places to find them are along creek banks, roadsides and railroad tracks throughout northern and western Canada and the U.S.
Delysia berry treats
Native to Austin, Texas, Delysia’s Berry collection chocolate truffles are easy to pick at the Culinary Center. You will fall in love with these chocolatey berries as they are all natural and sustainably sourced, not to mention delicious. Due to the chocolatier’s bounty, they are available for “picking” all year long. And being non-perishable, they can be easily shipped – albeit in a gift-wrapped box as opposed to a bucket.