July 18, 2012

Early harvest this year, but to my absolute delight, the raspberries are ready. These are no ordinary raspberries. There was a scraggly little wild bush which appeared on our property in Manistee many years ago. It had the sweetest, most amazing black raspberries you’d ever want to meet.

Most people call these blackberries, but blackberries are another thing altogether. Blackberries don’t have the hollow space in them like raspberries do. These are smaller and sweeter, and they are shaped like a little cap just like their cousins the red raspberries are.

As we worked at the building our nearly 20 years in Manistee, I would always look forward to the few tender berries that our struggling little plant would produce. Finally when we moved out and set about to rent the property, I found a new spot for that bush and brought it home with me.

It is very, very happy. I now have strong, prolific black caps growing in an impressive patch. This year, it’s all I can do to reach all those succulent berries without coming out looking like I have a couple of new kittens.

OK, that isn’t exactly true. I DO look like I have a couple of new kittens. Arms and legs with tiny red scratches, some of the pokes still containing the barb from the plant’s thorns. And these things are mean! Regular red raspberries are gentle by comparison. The black caps’ thorns are closer to rose thorns. Ouch!

But ooooohhh, the berries are worth the minor inconveniences. We never seem to have enough to freeze or put up as jam because they are just too good fresh and sweet out of the garden. In yogurt, on ice cream, or just by the handful they are one of my very favorite delights of the summer season.

© 2012, J. Cools

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