Don’t you turn my brown eyes blue(berry, blackberry, raspberry…)

While it’s well beyond time for my 2nd Annual “Have you hugged an Oregon berrry today?” PSA, it’s not as if it’s the wrong time for such a thing: the upside of this year’s even colder, even wetter summer is an extended-dance-version berry season.

Which is why Mr Vix and I were able to traipse off to the U-pick fields in late July and come home with FIVE delicious, nutritious varieties of berry:

O say can you see/An Oregon rasp-, blue-, straw-, marion-, and blackberry?

Now last June I detailed the plight of the Oregon strawberry, and did my part to support it with loads o’ picking. This past weekend, however, our timing was right for a few end-of-season strawberries plus wee Meeker raspberries, medium-size blueberries, and enormous blackberries—plus that tasty raspberry/blackberry mix, the marionberry.

[For some tragic reason Mr Vix has never had a marionberry in its wonderfully raw state, so we got in amongst the thorns and started picking.]

Though they’re certainly incredibly delicious I feel compelled to mention that marionberries, in addition to presenting themselves on the aforementioned thorny canes, are a bit…hairy…and rather messy to separate from their homes. I actually thought Mr Vix would be grumpy about their PITA quotient.

Wayward and thorny, marionberry canes guard their jewels

But NOOOOOO: he fell in love with their large-scale, juicy, sweet/tart nature. So much so that he happily posed with them:

Mr Vix demonstrates that a ready-to-eat marionberry or 10 in the hand is worth a million underripe red ones on the bush

It just goes to show that humans are unpredictable creatures. Although just like last year, we found the downside of being out under beautifully blue skies picking berries for a lark vs a living is that we went a mite overboard. [It helps that $30 gives one a lot of bang for the berry buck.] Luckily—just like last year—our friends A&T agreed to have us over for brunch in order to save us from ourselves.

It’s lovely when unpredictable humans turn out to be predictable when it matters!

Journey of a $30 berry medley: From farm to deck to friend's table, with many MANY left over at home

Unsurprisingly the brunch was exceedingly, indescribably wonderful—but we were somehow left with a hell of a lot of berries to either use, freeze, or continue to share. Thus far we’ve tossed our colorful little pals into muffin batter, yogurt, salads, blenders, and bowls filled with angel food cake…but still they crowd the refrigerator.

And apparently it’s GAME ON with Mr Vix, because he has been grilling me like a cheese sandwich about my berry consumption.

Him: So, have you had berries today?”

Me: “Yes, I had an ENORMOUS bowl for breakfast.”

Him: “Oh, I had them for breakfast AND I had a berry shake when I got home.”

Me: “Did I mention I’m planning on adding at LEAST a pint and a half to our dinner salad again?”

Him: “Well, I’m going to make another batch of muffins later. Actually probably 2 batches.”

Me: “Oh, that’s nice. I’m looking up jam recipes for this weekend.” [Editor’s note: I do not make jam unsupervised, so this was a blatant lie.]

Don’t tell him, but I’m silently crying UNCLE UNCLE. Though somehow I think even the losers come out winners in this battle….

PSA update to my 2010 PSA: Oregon bottles lots of its berries for syrups, jams and jellies, and other tasty creations; last year, I provided links to just a few manufacturers. My 2011 update? The Willamette Valley Fruit Company brings flash-frozen berries, berry desserts, and the usual jams/preserves to your doorstep. Don’t say I didn’t try to share the love, people.

6 Responses

  1. Vix, let me tell you: you need a flash freezer! I have no idea how big it would be and if you would have to build a whole new house around the device but it would lift all the berry weight from you. In ever sense! Because they leave the machine light like chiffon.

    I remember driving with Mr Paula’s parents through Styria (a region in Austria, similar to Tuscany, wine and hills), on the hunt for those strawberry-stands at the street where farmers sell their fruits. I returned home with a trunk of strawberries, unluckily that time I was into Montigncac (a special diet) and cook jam with stevia instead of sugar. As a result the jam (dozens of jars) turned out very runny with a weird taste and sat in the closet until we tossed all the jars. Another year the jam – done with sugar – went mouldy because the glasses where not as clean as they were supposed to be. Let me tell you, a deep freeezer is what we all need!

    My fav’s by the way are blueberries. They are perfect berries.

  2. I wonder how blueberries travel in a UPS envelope? The top photo is very well styled, and I may copy it for an upcoming story. And I am jealous it is actually cool enough to go outside and pick berries.

  3. Paula—

    We absolutely need something like that, but are way too lazy to go buy one! Plus I think I’ve read too many news reports and mysteries where dead bodies turn up in those waist-high freezers. [Right now we have called a truce and frozen the last of this pick’s goods. I’m ready to hit the fields again.]

    Your jam tales are tragic (and part of the reason I don’t make jam—it’s harder than it seems to get everything aligned). Though I love the sound of you two driving around with a trunkful of strawberries.

    You can have the blueberries, by the way. They are my least favorite to eat but do get points for lasting the longest.

  4. Ms DC—

    Thank you and repeat the styling if desired—it’s “precedent” not stealing, dontcha know. This is the second year my berry photos have been a little blurry; apparently it has something to do with wanting to put the camera down and stuff my face…so I rec you use a berry-hater for your story.

    I really have been sad that we have had two perfect summer weekends since you all came and had mostly rain, rain, and more rain. I don’t care if it WAS a relief from DC, you all deserved a true break, ha.

    Truthfully, I think Maine blueberries are pretty competitive with Oregon varieties…but if you click that non-affiliate link for Willamette Valley Fruit in my “ps” you can have whatever FedEx’d to you. Hmmmm…expense it?

  5. They look delicious… we are in the same boat with zucchini, which aren’t nearly as much fun for breakfast 🙂

  6. Ms EO—

    And ironically, I’ve just restocked on zucchini and squash from the market! I agree your vegetable may not be quite as fun for breakfast as my berries, but then again there’s no such thing as a bad time for zucchini bread, right?

    Thanks for stopping by and happy eating!

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