Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Blackberry Picking Then and Now

Blackberries ready for a pie.

When I was back in Cleveland County recently, wild blackberries were ripe, and I was reminded of the days I picked berries when I was a kid growing up there.  My sister, our friend and I would go out early in the morning on a July day and pick berries where they grew along the railroad track near our house.  Often we would encounter black snakes and always we would be bitten by chiggers.  We didn't mind, because we knew by lunch time Mama would have made a blackberry pie or cobbler from our bounty.  And how we loved blackberry pie! 

I passed by the railroad track where now the sides of the track are sprayed and there are no blackberries growing there today.

The railroad track where I picked berries as a kid.
We lived out in the country near my grandparent's farm.  The farm and the one adjacent have been bought by a blackberry company out of Georgia and the fields that were once planted in cotton have been replaced by fields of commercial blackberries.  I stopped and took some photos and I must say there was a bumper crop of berries. 

Blackberry fields where cotton once grew.

A bountiful crop of commercial blackberries.

I did have a chance to pick a few berries though over along the road near my friend Peggy Jean's house.  Not enough for a pie though.

Picking a few wild blackberries over near Peggy Jean's house.

When we returned to Raleigh, I kept thinking about those blackberries and about a blackberry cobbler.  I went right over to the Farmer's Market and bought enough berries to make a pie---no black snakes to worry about and no chiggers.  It's not quite the same though.  As a child I felt a great deal of accomplishment in picking a bucket of berries to take home for a pie.

Blackberries from the Farmer's Market.
As I was looking over recipes for a blackberry cobbler on the internet, I discovered the Pioneer Woman's blog.
The Pioneer Woman's blackberry cobbler. (Photo from her blog site.)

I'm going to use her recipe when I make a blackberry cobbler later this morning.  I'll let you know how it turns out.

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