We planted several varieties of blackberries that we paid a pretty penny for, but the only cultivar that has thrived in our microcosm is one that we dug up from an old an abandoned homestead years ago. We would go there every year to pick the sumptuous, juicy berries that covered an embankment next to the road. One day we saw a sign that advertised that the land was being turned into a subdivision. We saw a bleak future for our summer berry picking and hated the idea of this wonderful, vintage variety of blackberry falling prey to land development. So when the bramble patch started putting up next years canes we took several buckets and dug some of them up, took them home and began the many year long process of multiplying what we saved from the bulldozer. Normally I would hesitate to dig since we didn't have permission, but they were going to bull doze them anyway, so we were pretty sure no one would care. Now when you drive by our favorite picking spot there is a nicely landscaped berm to a subdivision of McMansions... and the only berry canes that remain from that particular hearty, disease free heirloom variety are in our berry patch. We will be eating our weight in berries, freezing and sharing for a few weeks and then it will be time for our blueberries to come in. As I eat my fill of blackberries and have plenty to spread around, I recall the sunny days long ago when our family would go out picking, I will think about the homesteaders who lived off the land where the berries grew, and I will smile with satisfaction knowing that we did our part to save an heirloom variety from being wiped out.
|These berries are from a heirloom variety that thrives in our local weather conditions and produces the largest sweetest berries I have ever eaten!|