It’s been a little while since I’ve posted anything about foraging. Once the garden started coming into its own this spring, I felt less of the urge to snoop through the tufts of wild greens encircling the yard in the hopes of finding something edible. Eating from the garden just seemed…well, easier.
It pays to keep your eyes open when you’re out and about, because sometimes you hit the jackpot. Out walking the dog last weekend, I thought I spied some familiar-looking bushes. A few steps closer confirmed that, indeed, on the edge of the woods (at a location in our neighborhood that will remain selfishly undisclosed) stood a thicket of fruit-bearing brambles. At first I thought they were wild blackberries. That’s what every wild bramble I’d seen before had turned out to be. But then I saw that the berries were red–and the ripest, plumpest ones were purplish red. This was the mother of all jackpots: wild raspberries.
I reached up my thumb and index finger to nudge one of the ripest-looking fruits. With barely any pressure at all, it fell from the branch into my palm. It was a short trip from there to my mouth. And while I know that I rave about a lot of things on this blog (for good reason: fresh food really is that good), these berries were pure heaven. Not even my friends’ homegrown raspberries could compare (no offense). These had the concentrated, brilliant sweetness that only a strain selected by the palates of countless generations of wild animals could maintain.
Now I have tried growing domestic raspberries. And I can’t fully explain why all the bushes I planted in our yard two years ago have withered, yellowed, or been chomped to the ground by deer while these wild ones just a thousand feet away have flourished into a giant mass of prolific canes. The wild strains are hardier, I imagine. Faster-growing. More drought-resistant. Better camouflaged. But, whatever the reasons, while I slaved over my private little berry patch, nature produced a thick stand of luscious red fruit without anyone’s having to dig, weed, fertilize, or water. All that’s to say, I’m content to be outdone by nature (yet again). Because, in addition to being a good instructor of humility, nature is also generous enough to share. Bountifully.