Sunday, 15 July 2007

A Report From The (Raspberry) Field

I'm bound and determined to get out and do something every Saturday morning however much it goes against the sleeping-in grain. We decided to skip the market today, as we still have a fair number of lingering veggies in the fridge. Instead, we went to pick berries; in this case I had raspberries and currants in mind for making jam.

I picked Hills of Brant Berry Farm as they have both, as well as gooseberries. It looked like they have red and black currants, and possibly even white currants, as well as red, white and purple gooseberries. Only one kind of raspberries, which is a bit of a pity. They are at 330 Glen Morris Road East, St George; just off of highway 24.

Editted to add: We went back again a second time, and they do indeed have white currants. They also have more than one kind of raspberry, although they are all red ones.

Above are some of the currant and gooseberry bushes. It was a great day for picking - cool and overcast. We noticed there were a few plastic stools amongst the currant bushes. What a great idea! Berry picking can be hard on the back. The currant and gooseberries were loaded with perfect ripe berries. They are plainly not as popular as the raspberries, which is a little baffling to me. They are excellent and versatile berries, and a lot cheaper than raspberries. While we picked, we speculated as to why that might be. A quick conversation with the lady at the check-out booth confirmed all our theories: they are harder to grow requiring more in the way of maintenance work; they have more pests and diseases than the other berries; and the picked berries have a very short shelf-life. So there you have it.

Unfortunately, the early bird gets not only the worm but also the berry. By the time we hit the raspberry patch at around 11:00 am, they were pretty throroughly picked over. It was frustrating because the bushes were loaded with red berries that will be ripe in a day or two. We managed to pick 3 quarts; one decent one and two that were better suited for jam, being faintly less than perfectly ripe, before we threw in the towel.

So we went and paid up, leaving with the red raspberries and red currants. Jamward ho! Maybe we'll try again during the week, earlier in the day, since the weather is supposed to hold fairly cool and grey.

Since it was around noon when we left, we decided to poke our heads in at the Cambridge Farmers Market on the way home. There we scored a flat of blueberries and 6 quarts of sour cherries for about 2/3 the regular price, as the market was closing in about half an hour.

Looks like my work is cut out for me this afternoon!

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