Monday, August 04, 2008


The mûres (blackberries) out in the vineyard are beginning to ripen, but they're not very big. I don't think our summers are hot enough long enough to produce big juicy blackberries.

A blackberry stem arches away from the main bramble.

But still, depending on the year, we can actually pick enough to make a pie. The closest patch to us was recently mowed down by the town, so we have to venture out around the edges of the vineyard to find some. There are some brambles in the woods next to our house, but getting in there to pick berries is a bit difficult.

I remember a few summers, years ago in California, when we would drive up to the Sierra Foothills to our friend Sue's house for the weekend. Her long dirt driveway (it's since been paved) is lined with blackberry brambles, and so are some of the edges around her rather large property. She has to fight with them every year to keep them from taking over, and it's a chore.

But in mid summer the berries ripen and Sue spends many hours out there picking. She freezes a lot of the berries and has them at hand all through winter.

On the days that we were there to help, we wore long sleeves and jeans to protect our skin from the thorns while picking, and often the temperature flirted with 100ºF (nearly 40ºC). But the berries were worth every discomfort, in pies, in jam, or just by the handful.


  1. Jet-lag is great for catching up on blogs! Thanks for interesting topics and a slice of summer. And All Callie All the Time is a winner!

  2. Ah les tartes aux mûres. This reminds me of a trip in the mountains in Alsace - at one point after a hike we came down to a small village called Le Hohwald. There was a pastry store selling them - hubby and I bought two slices and we sat by a little stream and enjoyed them.

  3. I have fond memories of picking berries with my father when I was a little girl. We had a cottage, in the Laurentians, for the summer. He came on the week-end and I spent every Saturday in the fields with him. He knew exactly where to go. We had a little wagon and lots of buckets to fill. My mother made delicious tarts. Also jams and jellies, on a wood stove. It lasted all winter, in Montreal. Les mûres étaient grosses et juteuses. I ate so many on the spot. My older sister, against my protests, would scrub my face and hands vigourously. I think she enjoyed it. But the berries were worth it...

  4. Claudia... what interesting recollections! There is nothing better than eating unwashed berries fresh off the vine. And blackberry pies and jam.... Uh oh, I'm hungry again.

  5. cheryl, welcome back!

    beaver, that sounds wonderful!

    claudia, ah, the good ol' days ;)

  6. Well, you know how I feel and I'm happy to report that some of the bushes I didn't find until too late last year are producing football-player thumb sized berries. I've got half a liter so far! Happy hunting!


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