Adventures in Urban Farming – Raspberries

We have raspberry bushes in our back yard. I discovered them last year when I was out trying to tame the lawn. I came late to the party and the birds and other critters had left only a handful of berries. So I ate them, right then and there.


This year I’ve been a lot better about tending to the yard, the garden and the berry bushes. I was surprised to see how many blossoms there were on the bushes this year. I mean I expected there to be some more than last year – the nature of growth and all that – but not the sheer overwhelming number of them. I anticipated their ripening for weeks.


Last week, when we had friends and their one-year-old, staying with us I found the first ripe berries. They were a dash of color in the green of the bushes. There were just a few ripe that first morning. I offered them to the baby (with her parents’ permission). They were gone before I could even get them on the tray. The next morning I went out again and picked another handful of berries. This time the adults each got a berry before the child took the majority of them – not even a full serving for her little tummy.


This went on most of the week. I harvested just enough berries every day to supplement the baby’s diet and give the rest of us a taste. Not bad, I thought, when the baby goes home I’ll have just enough each morning to flavor my cereal. I was right for a couple of days.


Then on Friday, I went out with my bowl and started picking. I picked and picked and picked and picked and picked. By the time I gave up trying to get all the ripe ones, there wasn’t any room for my cereal. Raspberries flavored my cereal, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack. I convinced Sweetie to eat a few and then, with a glance out the window at the rapidly ripening berries, I called my mother to come help me eat them.


Saturday it was the same thing. Sunday too, except Mom had had enough by then too. It is an embarrassment of riches. If I had the time right now (and the know how) I’d make jam. I have neither. So what I have is a glorious pile of sweet raspberries sitting on my kitchen counter. They are little and delicate and so full of flavor you can taste them just by looking at them.


Next year, if I do it right, we’ll have even more. You see the raspberries weren’t planted deliberately – at least not on our side of the fence. I don’t know if they were intentional in our neighbor’s yard either. The people living there moved in just a month before we did, and they’ve been altering their yard every bit as much as we have altered ours. I feel bad that they are likely to end up with raspberries in their yard again in the near future since that’s how raspberries grow. Not bad enough to destroy our bushes, or even keep ours from expanding in the direction I want them to.


This has been a fun bonus that we didn’t expect. A happy early harvest while I’m still waiting to see if anything I planted will bear fruit. The peas are still unable to find the poles I have them. The corn can’t decide if it wants to stand up straight or lie down. The beans are relying on each other. The tomatoes are looking healthy at the moment and the cucumbers are finally showing some signs of growth. I am still enjoying this project. So we’ll keep going, fueled by raspberries into this great adventure.

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