An Early Berry Report

The daisies are in full bloom along the roadsides and in the open areas. To me, this means strawberries. When I was a teenager living in Duluth, I would ride my bike to a nearby meadow and pick strawberries. The plants grow close to the ground, amidst all of the daisies, and in that neighborhood, everything bloomed and ripened at the same time. Up here, I've noticed that they are usually a couple of weeks apart. But this year, everything is a bit mixed up. I am seeing lots of flowers, and berries that are ripening. Most of the ones I checked were still green and white, but with our sunshine they will be red soon. It is a lot of work to pick wild strawberries, but I consider it a labor of love. They make excellent jam.

Much to my surprise, when I went on the boat ride a week and a half ago, I actually saw green berries on the blueberry bushes. I was checking the bushes, expecting to see flowers, but the flowers must be long gone. Some of our guests were hiking today on the Kekakabic trail, and they, too, saw green berries. Looks like it is going to be an early season for blueberry picking....get your buckets ready!

For those who like thimbleberries, the plants are in full flower. These berries are bright red, and similar in shape to raspberries. They are very tart, and because of that, they are Greg's favorite berry. We try to make a thimbleberry pie for him for his birthday, and we try not to sweeten it too much. One year, we took all of the sugar out, at his request. It turned out to be much too sour, and he had to add a bit of honey. One of these years, we will get it just right!

The raspberries are just beginning to get blossoms. These are my favorite berry. It has been several years since I found time to pick enough for a batch of jam. But I do usually gather some to make a batch of raspberry blonde bars. It is also a real treat to stuff a few berries into a s'more when you are sitting at a campfire near a ripe bush. Try it--gourmet s'mores in the woods!