Berry Picking

I made a sour cream cranberry pie for Thanksgiving. And it got me thinking about berries…
I started picking blueberries before I ate them. I was a strange kid who loved vegetables far more than fruit. Blueberries were something my mom liked a lot, though, and I happened to enjoy picking them so it worked out well. And I was never tempted to even put one in my mouth. Unlike strawberries, where for every one that went into my box, two went into my mouth, the blueberries went straight from bush to box. Raspberries were a different thing altogether–not only did I hate eating them, I hated picking them, too. In part because my mom would make me get the all the low ones since I was closer to the ground. As an adult, the logic of that set-up makes perfect sense but at the time, it just seemed like she was being lazy. 
The blueberries back in Washington were so large and purpley-blue that you barely had to pick at all to get them to fall into your hand. Even the slightest graze of your fingers and a handful would fall right off. I started going picking with my then-best friend’s family in high school. We went to a farm in the shadow of Mt. Si in North Bend with the most magical name–Bybee-Nims. Who wouldn’t want to pick blueberries at Bybee-Nims? Even if you were like me and hated blueberries, you wanted to go, if for the view of the mountain alone. And so we would go and I would pick 20 to 40 pounds in about an hour and a half with little to no effort.
Now when I live in a place where the berries are few and far between (completely unlike the berry nirvana of the Northwest), I, of course, have learned to love–YEARN even–for blueberries. Figures, doesn’t it?
We do have cranberries, though. Lots and lots of cranberries, but I’m not sure you can ever pick-your-own cranberries from the bog. I’d sure like to try.
Wisconsin’s Cranberry Queen ca. 1947. Harvesting cranberries looks like
fun doesn’t it? Apparently a bikini is required. 

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