The raspberries are ripening this week and with all the rain we have had so far this season, there is an abundance of them. For the past few days, each morning I have gone into the garden to gather the ripe raspberries, sharing them with my husband, eating them atop our oatmeal (last photo) and throughout the day. Of course, many berries must be sampled while gathering as well. It’s part of the tradition. I remember when my son was small, we would send him out to gather raspberries for breakfast. By the time he came back into the house, his grinning face was stained purple, especially around the mouth, as he offered us the few berries left in the bowl.
Raspberries are pretty widespread around the world. Black raspberries are native to this continent, but red raspberries probably originated in Asia Minor. The Romans helped to spread their cultivation throughout their empire. There is even some evidence (by canes growing at cave sites) that raspberries were part of the paleo diet. And why not! They are mighty delicious.
While they hard to resist and snacking on them is a welcomed indulgence, there is something about raspberries that also teaches us about patience. The new canes that grow do not fruit until the following season after it has had time to mature. Once the cane has fruited, it dies, which is why it is a good idea to cut it back at the end of the season. The fruit itself takes a while to ripen and even starts out looking like there is nothing much there. Part of the Rose Family, raspberry canes have thorns and if you’re not careful in your anxiousness to get at the ripe fruit, you will draw blood. You need to take your time in the luscious gathering. I know I might have warned my son about those thorns these many years ago, but it was the plant itself, I am sure, that taught the lesson.
My own fingers are stained and there is a scratch near my right elbow from the morning’s gathering. I look forward to the next few days of harvest and then need to summon my patience for next year’s crop.
(First two photos by JB)