VICTORY GARDENS: Scoring Blackberries Before Lucifer Pees & Spits All Over Them
by Lisa Giroday, Sandra Lopuch and Sam Philips | At Victory Gardens, we get more than a little excited in August not only because there is plenty to eat in the garden but also because it’s blackberry season! What’s so great about blackberries is that you don’t need to have a garden in order to reap the benefit of this weed that produces a glorious profusion of the most delectable fruit you’ve ever tasted in your life. Humans have consumed these little morsels for thousands of years. They, like we, have evolved throughout the ages. Today, blackberries may live in a concrete jungle, propagating on their own in vacant lots and the like. Whether you’re foraging for blackberries in a laneway, a vacant lot, or on a hiking route in nearby woods, it’s times like these when the city seems at its wildest, and it’s yours for the taking. Blackberry picking is an instinctual satisfaction, no matter where you find them!
The pies and crumbles, the ice cream and cereal toppings, jams, teas, and smoothies to come are all worth getting seeds in your teeth and scratches on your arms for. Some people even go the extra mile and make blackberry wine! How awesome is that? English folklore suggests that blackberries should not be picked after Old Michaelmas Day (October 11th), as legend has it that on this date, Lucifer was kicked out of heaven and fell into a bramble of blackberries. Each year after this date, he spoils them by urinating or spitting on them out of spite! Until then, we only have to watch out for dogs.
Where to find them: In the city, in the wild, and at the farmers market.
What to bring while hunting: bypass pruners, a walking stick for making headway, long sleeves, gloves, and buckets, buckets, buckets. Some water for drinking is smart, too (it’s hot out there).
Where’s your favorite spot to forage for blackberries? If you have one, would you tell? We have one. Perhaps we’ll see you there.
Victory Gardens is a team of local urban farmers for hire. Lisa, Sandra and Sam help transform tired or underused residential and commercial green spaces into food producing gardens. Their goal is to challenge the way communities use space and to participate in the change needed to consume food more sustainably. For the rest of the growing season, they’ve hooked up with Scout to share some cool tips and tricks on how to get the best from of our own backyards.