Many of us have happy memories of sitting in strawberry fields as children with our families, eating more of the ripe red fruit than we save. For me, it wasn't long ago that I was tromping around the tundra of the Northwest Territories with elders, children and friends, laughing and picking cranberries in the midnight sun. Somehow berries taste different when you pick them yourself.
Maybe it is the smell of the fresh air or the warmth of the sun, but it just feels good to be connected to the land. Berry picking is such a simple activity to do together, showing children where food comes from and getting them excited about contributing to the family meal by adding those special little morsels of fruit that they handpicked.
Now that I am living in BC, I am grateful that I am surrounded by berries. I love the burst of blueberry flavour on a fresh summer salad and the pure sweetness of ripe red raspberries for dessert. It seems too good to be true that these nutrient dense mouth-watering delights count towards my daily recommended servings of Vegetables and Fruit. Muddling (squishing) some fresh berries in a glass with a mint leaf or two and adding some club soda quenches my thirst more than a sugary store bought drink any day.
I can't wait to take advantage of the bounty at my fingertips! Maybe I could get a group together to go blueberry picking on a Saturday or I could take my friends' kids to a strawberry farm. Or, maybe I could just load up at the blackberry bushes I pass on my bike ride home from work. The opportunities, like the berries, seem endless!
How do you and your family enjoy the harvest? I would love to hear your stories.
Check out this site to see what berries are in season so you can go on your own berry picking blitz: http://www.bcfarmersmarket.org/inseason.htm