I've been sneaking around my neighborhood lately... looking for unwanted patches of overgrown blackberries. It was slow going for a while, but I've finally found a couple of good spots.
From across the street, this just looks like another uninspiring empty lot...
But up close, it's full of uber-inspiring blackberries! Yum. I just happened to have a chance to walk to one of my classes last week, when I passed this lovely little patch. I was back there, the next morning at 8 am and a tupperware to fill.
Mostly, I've just been enjoying my fresh blackberries as a snack... but first I had to use up LAST year's berries! ha. Pulled a big bag out of the freezer, whipped up a little crust and threw together a delicious blackberry pie. I skimped and made a sub-standard crumble topping, which I regret. Nonetheless, it was quite delicious and quickly disappeared. Now I have set my sights on a repeat performance, with a no-holds-barred, full-fat, double crust. Yeah! Blackberry pie is one of life's greatest pleasures.
Aside from my skittering about on the sidelines of neglected properties, I also went to a proper Berry Picking Establishment. Ever since about 7th grade or so, my friends and I have gone berry picking for my birthday. I think it was something that my mom started. My birthday has long since passed, but we still got together a pretty good group and went up the coast to pick some Ollalieberries. Ollalies are an extra-large blackberry variety, more on the tangy side. We were at the very end of the season, which meant a bit more sleuthing around... but also meant super ripe berries. I got a LOT of berries, and most of them are in the freezer, ready for action.
If you're in the area, we went picking at Coastways Ranch, which is affiliated with Swanson's Berry Farm. They've officially become certified organic and they also have organic You-Pick kiwis in the fall.