Saturday, May 14, 2016

Blackberry Winter

We went through a cold snap last week, the days when the wind snaps at your nose and reminds you that winter is not quite through. Even though it was late spring. Even though the calendar date said May.

There was a snow covering on the higher peaks of the Appalachians. I know this because friends posted pictures on facebook and facebook never lies. Meanwhile I was shivering on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean with sand filled wind snapping my legs...a cold snap for sure.

In these parts of the universe, this cold snap is referred to as a blackberry winter. The wild fields this spring are bursting with more blackberry blooms than I remember seeing the last few years. A spring event like this is defined locally by what is blooming at the time of the downturn in the normal hints of summer. Hence, blackberry winter.

This blackberry patch photo I snapped from the street near my home, Calico Road, so named generations ago for the dresses worn by the girls who lived at the end of the street. It will be a great spot to pick blackberries, reachable, near civilization enough to keep back a few snakes...a few.

Unlike this blackberry patch on the hiking trail at Tuttle Educational State Forest near my home. This patch calls for a dog companion for protection, deep into the woods, not near any civilization, and wide open to snakes...and ticks I might add. I found one crawling on my neck when I returned home after the hike.

This summer I will have a booth at the annual Blackberry Festival in Lenoir. By the time it rolls around in July, these blooms will have turned into huge black lumps oozing with flavor ripe for the picking. At noon on festival day there is a ceremonious parade from the fellowship hall of the First Baptist Church to the town square and featuring men carrying flats laden with blackberry cobblers. Once the ceremony is complete, everyone gets a free scoop of the cobbler. Tasty! Fun!

Until then, these white blooms will finish their business and wither away while the berries begin their business and fill with rainwater and sunshine and deliciousness.

I can't wait. It will be a blackberry summer for sure.

Catch of the day,


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