Spring has an array of flowers and blooms that capture one’s eye from large, small and every color of the prism. The one bloom that always signals bright sun shiny days are here again in the Pacific Northwest is the delicate white blackberry bloom. These flowers will blanket the cane arbors along fencerows, ditches and steep hillsides.
Upon closer inspection these floral clusters of blackberry blossoms are alive with activity. There is a mild roar coming from the mountains of flowers. One of the finest annual culinary treats is about to begin. Bees are invading the blackberry patch with a vengeance and for good reason. The prolific nectar flow from the blackberry flowers is pure gold! The ancient instinct to build up winter stores causes the bees to work early and stay out late to harvest the abundant honey. Although Oregon has over 6100 acres of cultivated blackberries, this meager amount pales in comparison to the tens of thousands of wild acres of blackberries in California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska. The wild blackberry acreage in the Pacific Northwest easily is greater than the worldwide-cultivated acreage of 66,000 acres.The Gourmet Blackberry Honey is possible only because the wild blackberries are so perfuse, bloom at a time when little other flower nectar is available from different kinds of flowers and most importantly, the weather conditions are ideal for bumper crops of blackberry nectar in the Pacific Northwest.
Mid July starts a blackberry harvest in Lower California and continues to move north. Bremerton, Washington Blackberry Festival occurs in September around Labor Day. Blackberries, syrups, gourmet honey, recipes, cooking and blackberry events highlight this festival. The southern tip of Alaska is about 2-3 weeks behind Washington with its blackberry harvest bounty.
Although this cycle starts with a beautiful bloom, honey bees and a warm spring day to make the sought after blackberry gourmet honey, the day does arrive in the warmer summer days of the blackberry harvest. These wild blackberries can be as big as your thumb to the first knuckle, and a black/purple in color. The blackberry should be all black with no or few red drupelets. The wild blackberries have monstrous thorns! This could be the reason few of these wild berries are harvested for produce. However, the blackberry thorns do not slow the bees. This region has a very important role in producing the majority of the world’s succulent blackberries, raspberries and blueberries.
Blackberry Gourmet Honey is a rare treat eaten by few and known by fewer. Seek out this bold flavor. When this honey is used to baste barbeque meats the results are heavenly. A hot biscuit, butter and blackberry honey, bagels and blackberry honey or just blackberry honey and fine music are exemplary ways to curl up with satisfaction.
Do not hesitate to include this diamond of a taste in your pantry.
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