Summer can be a very fruitful time on the farm. Besides baling hay, the garden gets a start in producing its treasures. After the asparagus and rhubarb emerge and produce, the berry blossoms silently make their presence known. As the mature strawberry crop climaxes and declines, the June berries, the currants, and raspberries take to the fore. Yes, fruit is in the making whether by design or by chance here on Heritage Farm.
June berries, or as my Dad called them, Canadian blueberries, grow on a tall bush. When ripened they are a dark blue berry. Whether baked into a pie or a berry crisp, June berries are good. Unfortunately, the birds like them and sneak their way into our little orchard to fill their tummies and smack their beaks in satisfaction. June berries are a treat.
At the same time the currants are busy making their fruit. Currants are a cousin to the gooseberry. Gooseberry bushes have thorns, where the currant bush does not. Our currants, planted by our forebears, are producing well for us. Years ago, when I discovered the currant bushes on our farm, I was delighted to find one or two cups of fruit. Currant buns became a favorite seasonal delicacy.
Recently, with the loss of some shady trees, the currants are responding to the added sunlight. They are producing a bigger crop than normal. Hoping to beat the birds and their aggressive appetites, my daughter and I have kept busy picking the berries. With the currants, there have been three pickings. It is a first for us! We collected about six quarts of fruit this year. Sunshine sure has made a difference for this crop.
One day, I trekked to our property fence line to pick currants. Every bush showed off its bobbles. Strung like colored beads on a Christmas tree, the shiny orange orbs dangled delicately from dainty stems attached to a fruiting stem. I snatched up the berries I could see. Then I sat on the ground, peering deeply into each bush to uncover the hidden berries. As I did, I heard the low drone of humming birds as they visited our hedge of trumpet vines nearby. Presently, I felt the warmth of something next to me. Our farm dog snuggled up by me under the shade of the currant bushes. Although I was the only one picking berries at the time, I was definitely not alone.
With the plenteous yield of currants we got this year, I did indeed make buns. But I thought I might search for a new way to use them. I succeeded at making two batches of jelly. Still, with more berries than usual, the recipe book came in handy.
By this time the raspberries began to ripen. I found a recipe for Currant and Raspberry Juice. My daughter picked our luscious golden raspberries. Coupled with my harvest of tart currants, the honey-sweet of the raspberries made a delightful refreshing juice.
As for the raspberries, we have had several pickings. We have had sauce, apple/raspberry crisp and juice. Berries can make a person busy, but with all of the yield, they make for a berry good day.
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