Yesterday, I went berry picking at Belltown Hill Orchards with my two friends Emily and Emily. We were lured there with the hopes of picking plump berries like those that we picked last year. This time around, however, such blue juicy gems were far more scarce as it was the end of the season. Though the blueberries were only average size, we managed to make the most of our afternoon. We had a great time catching up, shouting from one bush to another, poking our heads around trees to hear the next bit of conversation. We also gave a fellow picker tips on places to visit in Ireland after he heard us discussing our adventures there. A few hours later, I wound up with three pounds of blueberries (their fate is still unknown).
While weighing our berries and ringing us out, the saleswoman mentioned that we should stop at the farmstand because they were having a sale on peaches. After discussing the delicious merits of peach crisp, cobbler and jam (not to mention the pricetag--$3 for a whole bucket of peaches!), we made the farmstand our next stop.
While paying for my peaches, I was chatting with the cashier who told me that it was blackberry picking season. Let me tell you a little something about myself. I'm not a fruit fan. I'll eat a banana every now and again, but I love berries. Most specifically, I love blackberries and raspberries. Blueberries are good in pie and the occasional muffin or scone, but they have limited function in my my diet. The more tart members of the berry clan own real estate in my palate. Fold raspberries into any batter and it's instantly better in my book. So, naturally you can imagine how excited I was to hear that I could soon have pounds (yes, pounds) of these raven-colored beauties in my possession.
The plants were nearly twice my height and had an array of the most beautiful shades of magenta, purple and ebony berries. I was in heaven.
The ripe berries were easy to spot. They looked like little clusters of glossy obsidian grapes, bursting with juice. When I reached to grab them, they came off their stems so willingly that it was almost as if they were exhausted from hanging so much weight from their stems. Many of them were so ripe that even a gentle touch sent sweet burgundy juice running down my fingertips. Four pounds of blackberries later, my fingernails were stained magenta. It was the mark of a fantastic day.
Belltown Hill Orchards
483 Matson Hill Road
S. Glastonbury, CT 06073