Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Vegan Berry Hunting

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.

17 comments:

  1. That is one cute photo of Sal's rear end as he forages among the berry bushes. The second generation ... Such a great tradition among friends. I just want to know: how come I didn't get any of that pie?!?

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  2. Pick your own kiwis! I'm jealous.

    I adore berry picking in neglected places and looks like you got a great haul. I scored some black raspberries last week, but only a handful...a delicious handful...

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  3. Ahh, I LOVE berry picking!!

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  4. I love berry picking. I wish they grew wild around here! :)

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  5. Oh man, the only thing more awesome than picking your own berries? Finding a random patch of berries to pick! That pie looks so yummy. I found some plums in, of all places, a supermarket parking lot, and I had grand plans for plum pie or jam, but I've been eating them all out of hand!

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  6. Berry-picking has got to be one of my favorite summer pastimes! I've been going out almost every evening to snag fresh raspberries in the area... It's just wonderful!

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  7. What a fun birthday tradition! And good use of last year's berries. I've got a big ol' bag of frozen blackberries from last month that really outta find their way into such a yummy pie!

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  8. Wow.. berry picking in your own neighborhood, how cool!! Pie looks scrumptious...

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  9. That pie looks so good! I like a crumb topping every once in a while too, especially since I suck at rolling pie crust!

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  10. Yum! I was just telling L & R all about the berry picking tradition. I'd love to take them -- maybe we can coordinate with a visit early next summer! We'd all love it. Good, good memories :)

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  11. oh, that pie is so beautiful! I've been wanting to make a summer pie for so long now, yours is totally inspiring me to jump onto the fat-train and just do it! :P
    After all, you only get berries like this once a year, right?

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  12. Ooooh I wish there were unwanted berries growing near me :( And wow, that pie looks amazing.

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  13. Awesome find! You are so lucky. I am afraid my berries would be eaten so fast they would never make it into a pie. lol

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  14. Nice! I would love to find a place to pick berries.

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  15. "unwanted patches of overgrown blackberries"-- There is such a thing? I can't imagine unwanted blackberries! I do love the idea of urban berry hunting though, ha!

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  16. Ooh, how fun! I need to find some roadside berries & get to picking.

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  17. Anonymous3:35 PM

    Yum yum yum. I love berry picking. the pie is making my mouth water. I've been mashing them into pancake batter often lately - I like the purple-y swirls.

    - jen e.

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