Written by Queenie Lei, a fourth year Communication student minoring in international studies. She is passionate about international affairs and non-profit organizations. She is always learning something new about herself!
When my siblings and I were younger and still living in our old neighbourhood, my parents would bring us to a local blackberry patch. We would always pick a good amount of blackberries that would last us for the whole summer. We would make the berries into delicious smoothies and banana cakes. My mom would also freeze the extra blackberries for future use.
I really enjoy picking berries because I can see that what I’m consuming is locally sourced. Additionally, it is usually fresher than the pre-packaged berries from the grocery store; local berry picking is also sustainable in the sense that it will benefit the local economy, supporting farms and farmers in our community. It’s nice to know that the money that I spend on the berries is sending a child to piano lessons or art class. I also find that picking berries is a good opportunity to have fun and bond with the people you are picking the berries with. Perhaps I’m not alone in feeling this way, as in BC, there has been a steady increase in the size of the national blueberry area! For example, since 2006, the size of the “blueberry area increased 76.8% to 20,858 acres in 2011. British Columbia accounted for 11.9% of the national blueberry area in 2011, up from 9.3% in 2006.”
Recently, the kid’s camp that I have been working at during this summer went on a trip to Angkar’s Blueberry Farm to pick blueberries. Since it had just finished raining, it was slippery, making it easy to slip and fall down. However, I really enjoyed bonding with the kids and feeling more connected to nature. When we were at the blueberry farm, we were very particular with the berries we picked, choosing only the biggest and bluest ones because they looked sweet and juicy.
According to my supervisor, this is the best time to pick blueberries because this year, the ripe season has arrived early so if you go later on during the summer, there will be a reduced amount of berries to be picked.
By the time we were finished picking blueberries, there were 53 pounds of delicious and sweet blueberries!
Photo from http://www.polyvore.com/
What are you planning on doing with the berries you pick this summer? For me, I usually place 1 cup of blueberries and 1 ½ cup of milk into the blender. Ice cream is optional. Another one of my favourite ways to eat blueberries is adding them into my cereal or oatmeal to add some flavour and nutrients!
Happy berry-picking from Embark Sustainability