It is officially berry season in the great north woods and our family devotion to the raspberry in particular spans five generations. It dates back to my great-grandmother Marie Congdon. She had rows of raspberry brambles that she tended to each summer. The mere smell of the berry patch brings me back to my six year old self, and I vividly recall the pints of berries resting in her front porch from a summer morning harvest.
Today, my grandmother JoAnn carries on the tradition just next to where Marie’s berries grew so endlessly. Each summer since I can remember, I have picked berries. Now, my children accompany me and my grandma usually joins us to pick a few pints. After we have thoroughly disengaged the patch from any ripe berries, we head in with our bounty. Grandma bestows upon us a lovely luncheon feast served with a refreshing glass of iced tea as a reward for our toil in the July heat. It is always a day I look forward to in our summer adventures.
The fate of our berry harvest is a joy to behold.
Berries with cream and sugar.
Always jam. (This means that we can delight ourselves in berry goodness all throughout the year.)
I have proudly carried on the tradition in my own garden with seedlings from my grandmother’s patch. They were transplanted last year and produced berries this year. (This year!) If you would have told me long ago that I would get excited about such things, I would have had trouble believing you. Domesticity was not my strong suit. I can’t declare with any level of certainty that it is currently my strong suit. But with a family of my own, somehow these simple pleasures in life – sweet, easy, heirlooms that can be passed down from one generation to the next – have become extremely important. It is funny how drastically motherhood changes you. It affects you in boundless, crazy, heart bursting ways that you could have never imagined. It is as if the fate of the universe rests in these devout and delicious endeavors.
Of course, all aspects of the berry legacy were passed down to me and my sister by our own dear mother, which make the legacy that much sweeter.
And all of this takes place because someone simply decided to plant some raspberries.
Thank you to my mom, grandma, and great-grandma for sharing the berry legacy with us.
I hope that you are enjoying summer and all the goods that go along with it.
Actually, I hope you are having a berry, berry good summer. *winks and pops berry in mouth*