Friday, September 2, 2011

Land of wild blackberries

One of the things I love about being in Vancouver and British Columbia is the berry picking. Berries such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are so easy to grow. When I was still living in Paris, I remember reading about berry picking back in Vancouver and felt nostalgic and homesick. Unless you ventured way out into the countryside in Paris, you would not find any berry fields. Well there were grapes because of the wine and lavender fields but they were all private. There definitely weren't any u-pick! It was only when we went hiking in the mountains of the French Alps did we pick wild strawberries. I remember being so excited :)

Here in Vancouver, blackberries grow wild! They grow like bamboo and are out of control. Where ever there is a bush, there are likely blackberries. You step out of the skytrain and the bushes are right there for you to pick and eat. Every block you walk, you see a blackberry bush and if you don't, there is one across the street. We live in this kind of neighborhood. There are berries for everyone and the rest the birds will happily eat. We used to plant raspberry in our patio. A year later, it became a raspberry and blackberry bush! The blackberry from outside our fence somehow crawled into our patio. I didn't even know there was blackberry out there.

Last night, we took our buckets and went blackberry picking. We had a destination in mind but ended up filling part of our buckets along the way there because like I said, blackberries are just everywhere! Last year we went picking a bit late and most of them were either already picked or had ripen too much and fallen down. This year we headed out at a good time. Although next week might be an even better time. It also depends on where you are in the Vancouver area. I remember seeing ripe blackberries in Stevenston Village a couple of months ago.

Tristan had a great time picking blackberries. He did better than I had thought. I did most of the picking and thought Jean-Louis could help watch him pick for fun. Tristan did so well that Jean-Louis ended up picking on his own for awhile while Tristan picked and skipped around nearby. It turns out Tristan is a tough toddler. He got lots of scratches and pricks on his leg and we didn't even know because he didn't cry. My bad:( Next time I will send him out in long pants instead of shorts.

Happy picker :)
Tristan's blackberry picking wounds
We picked for less than an hour but got a whole bucket full. That's probably over 5 pounds of blackberries! I ate so much last night, my stomach hurt. Now, we only have a few handfuls left because I made a blackberry tart today. With lavender pastry cream:( Honestly, it is so very hard NOT to bake this summer! Sigh.

Food meltdown update: Since the last post, Tristan has been eating a lot better. He finally finished the leftover corn bake the other day and is listening more at the table. He only got a small slice of blackberry tart tonight after he ate ALL of his dinner of rice, corn, salmon, bitter melon and pork. Phew! :)


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