(Reprinted from the Aug. 2, 2001 Suburban News)

We have arrived in the middle of the wild berry season. It started with those ever-so-small but so very sweet wild strawberries a few weeks ago. Next came the blueberries; both low bush and high bush variety. The red dots of the raspberries came and now the luscious blackberries are ripening.

A lot of the fun I used to get from picking blueberries has gone as ticks have become a dangerous pest of the blueberry patch.

No matter what kind of berry you’re picking, it’s best to wear a long sleeve shirt. The shirt will cut down on the number of scratches and it beats any sunblock. I wear an old white shirt as bugs don’t go for white and it makes it easier to spot any ticks you might have picked up. Long trousers with the cuffs tucked into your socks are also helpful.

Berry plants are part of nature’s way of rotating its crops.

Blueberries are found where the underbrush has been burned a few years ago; or where a field or pasture has been let go.

Raspberries and blackberries come up where pine and hemlock trees have been cut, letting the sun reach the forest floor. Given a few years to develop, the cut-off area will give plenty of berries for a number of years.

You should always get permission to go on somebody’s land to harvest the berries. It is well to remember that every square foot of property someone is paying high taxes on. Nothing rattles me more than to find some people tramping down my berry bushes; and when I ask them to stop to have them tell me its just wild land. I’m the one that gets wild, not the land.

All types of cultivated berry plants can be bought nowadays and with care they can produce for years. The tips of blackberry plants buried in the ground for a couple of months will become new plants and give you a harvest in two years.


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