For the Love of Berry Picking | SHIFTING ROOTS

For the Love of Berry Picking

It’s a hot sticky morning in July and I wake up to the bright sun at 6:30am.  Why am I up this early?  Oh yes, it’s berry picking season.

Yesterday I spent 2 hours in the scorching sun only to pick one pail of Saskatoon berries.  Today I’ll be picking raspberries at my Mother-in-law’s acreage.  Two hours later I emerge hot, sticky, dirty, and profoundly happy from the raspberry patch.

Why?

I love going berry picking every summer. Saskatoon berries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, sour cherries. . . you name it, I love to pick it. Over the years I've learned that while picking berries is about food security, it's also about love and passing down traditions.

Saskatoon berries, Weeding, and the Summers of My Youth

As a young girl I helped my parents plant hundreds of Saskatoon berry bushes on our acreage.  I hated those bushes.  Not only did I have to spend hours of my summer planting them, but I had to pick the rocks around them and weed them for hours on end.  There was a point every summer where Mom and I just gave up.  The weeds were taller than our 5’5″ frames and took every ounce of strength we had to pull out.

Normal kids in normal families got to have fun during their summer.  Sigh.

Related: 28 Plants You’ll Likely Regret and How to Plant a Garden When You Literally Have No Clue

Finally, after 5 years of waiting, the berries were ready.  It was a bumper crop that year.  I picked pails and pails until my hands turned blue and I thought I would never get the stain out.  Saskatoon berries had never tasted so good.

It was glorious.

I love going berry picking every summer. Saskatoon berries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, sour cherries. . . you name it, I love to pick it. Over the years I've learned that while picking berries is about food security, it's also about love and passing down traditions.

Berry Obsessed

Once I caught the berry picking bug, I was hooked.  I loved to go out picking berries with my Grandma, who was even more hooked than I was.  She knew all the spots where the wild Saskatoon berries grew and wouldn’t leave until every last one was picked.

Sure, sometimes it was boring.  Yet the thought of Saskatoon berries on my oatmeal, raspberry pie, or eating sour cherry jam spurred me on.

Related: Simple Raspberry Jam & The Ultimate Easy Cherry Pie

This morning as I picked raspberries, I couldn’t help but think of the generations of prairie women before me–picking berries in the heat, waving off their children’s cries of “I’m bored,” chatting with their fellow berry pickers, and dreaming of what they’ll make with their berries.

I also couldn’t help but think of my sweet grandma, who would have been so proud to see me in her straw gardening hat and a sensible long sleeved, loose shirt appropriate for berry picking.  The hat is starting to fray and the shirt is ugly, but I wear them as badges of pride.

I love going berry picking every summer. Saskatoon berries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, sour cherries. . . you name it, I love to pick it. Over the years I've learned that while picking berries is about food security, it's also about love and passing down traditions.
This is my grandma’s straw hat, but for blogging pictures I left out the shirt.

Growing up, I always wondered why my grandma and mom planted such a huge garden, canned ridiculous amounts of jam and produce, and stayed up late into the night processing “just one more batch” of corn.

Now I know.

Yes, it is food security for your family.  But I know now that it’s also an expression of love.

Berry picking is an expression of love.Click To Tweet

What’s your favourite summer fruit to pick?  I’d love to hear your stories in the comments.

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I love going berry picking every summer. Saskatoon berries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, sour cherries. . . you name it, I love to pick it. Over the years I've learned that while picking berries is about food security, it's also about love and passing down traditions.

Kristen Raney

Kristen Raney

Kristen is a former farm kid turned urban gardener who owns the popular gardening website, Shifting Roots.  She is obsessed with growing flowers and pushing the limits of what can be grown in her zone 3b garden.  She also loves to grow tomatoes, but oddly enough, dislikes eating them raw.

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Kristen

Welcome!

Hi, I'm Kristen and I help new gardeners learn to grow their own vegetables and beautify their yards. I also share recipes that use all that delicious garden produce. Grab a coffee (and your gardening gloves) and join me for gardening tips, simple recipes, and the occasional DIY, all from the lovely city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

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