I love picking blackberries, even though it means that I am stung by nettles and have very sharp thorns embedded in my skin. Strangely I always make a mental note of when my next tetanus jab is due, (just over a year away) as a very sharp and strong thorn attaches itself to the skin of my arm/hand. I’ve been picking blackberries in this area since I could walk, which is quite a long time. I know of areas where cultivated blackberries are, these are the first to fruit, these have gone over now and where there are miles of wild blackberries which are just ready for picking. The wild blackberries take more picking, because of thorns and their fruit is much smaller, but to me they have an intense blackberryness which is well worth the effort. I picked three pounds in an hour yesterday.

I’ve lost two of my areas this year, one farmer has decided to cultivate his field that had been left to stand for many years, so has blocked access. There were a couple of nice sloe trees on that run, which my gin will sadly miss this year. Another area has been rather cruelly blocked in by builders using this exact area to store their equipment. I’m still debating whether to take myself up to it, with basket in hand and smile gently at them to see whether they will let me climb over there diggers and other equipment to let me in..

I, to my great pleasure have also been promised a crop of cooking apples from a chap that I’ve known for years. So, as long as the Black Rocks continue to lay during the short dark days and the freezers that have seen better days continue to work, we shall be enjoying some very fine winter puds.

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