Hidden food in the forest . . .

berry54Midsummer, that time of year when the forest starts providing precious berries and nuts to those willing to venture out and hunt for them. In northern Minnesota, a good hunter can find wild strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, june berries, hazel nuts, wild rice, black walnuts chokecherries, wild plums, gooseberries .. just to name a few.

Of all the berries, wild blueberries are my favorite … finding a patch in the woods is comparable to finding “gold” to me. And, I am not the only one. It seems that all of the local people have a “secret” blueberry patch and they guard those sites with friendly deception and stealth berry picking behaviors.

The weather has not been very cooperative the past two weeks (rainy and cold), so today was my first sneaky trip to my secret spot. Normally, this day brings a big smile to my face and a big bucket of berries to brag about. Today, I walk away with a big frown and only a small handful of the precious blueberry gold. Did someone find my patch and pick them clean? Did a big bear eat them all first? Or, is the weather to blame? I am betting on the weather … as I did not see foot prints and the bushes were not matted down where a bear decided to lay down for an afternoon snack. To be sure the weather is to blame, I will continue my search and I will probably ask others how their blueberry picking is going .. but, with all the secrecy involved in this hunt, how can I trust the answers I get?

blue53The wild raspberries are doing well … unlike the blueberries, I can pick those right outside my door … raspberries are good and usually abundant and easy to find … blueberries, on the other hand, are the real trophy. If I would have found some today, they would have looked like this photo.

Yes, they are small .. yes, it takes a lot of work .. yes, sometimes the bugs and the weather make you wonder why you are torturing yourself … but, the pies, muffins and jams that come from these small bundles of flavor are worth it. There is no comparison in flavor to those large berries farmed and purchased in the stores … if you have not tasted wild blueberries fresh from the woods, you have not tasted a blueberry.

For more information on the wild edible foods of Minnesota check out these two sites: Edible Fruits of MN, and Berries of Forests

~ by bearyweather on July 31, 2009.

One Response to “Hidden food in the forest . . .”

  1. […] If you would like to know more about berry picking in Minnesota, check out two of my posts from last summer: The Story of Skunk Berries and Hidden food in the forest […]

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