In 1983 we purchased a home on a hill at the edge of a state forest in NY state.  After moving in, we realized there were several hundred raspberry bushes on the property.  I never really liked raspberries up till then, but I quickly learned to love them.  In that area,  red raspberries are red caps, black raspberries are black caps. Along with those we had blueberries, wild blueberries and blackberries. 

   We lived there for almost 10 years and the berries became the kids summer business.  They would pick the berries early in the morning, then set up a table at the end of the driveway, keeping the berries cool in a cooler.  Neighbors and small local markets quickly became regular customers, often putting in orders for large amounts, days or weeks ahead knowing we’d have ripe berries by July 4th each year and again in late summer or early fall.   I would often keep a lot of the late berries for our own use, stocking up the freezer and would take some to the nursing home for my residents. 

  When I realized we might be moving, I transplanted some of the berry bushes to mom’s yard and then the 3 years later moved them to our current home.  Only a small number survived, but enough that by July 4th each year, we can count on at least a pint to a quart of berries a day for almost a month.  

  Photo of berries picked today… they are darker than they appear in the photos.  The ones in the bowl will be eaten fresh, the ones in the tray will be frozen for later use.   I like to freeze them in a single layer, using small trays that can be stacked, giving the trays a shake occasionally so the berries don’t clump together. Once frozen, I can pour them into a bag for loose packed, easy pour berries. They thaw out quickly this way, retaining their shape better.  My favorite way to use the berries is to make a simple raspberry sauce and drizzle it over ice cream, pound cake or other desserts and I also like them in pies.

  Grandson Connor has discovered the blackcaps and quickly learned the very dark ones are the sweet ones.  However, he hasn’t learned how to avoid the raspberry thorns and so we help him pick berries.  To him all the berries are simply ‘backberries’ and he would happily make an entire meal of them.  His parents are catering a wedding today and so I’m babysitting him.  Lunch was a simple sandwich as he’d been snacking a little while before lunch.  Actually the only reason he was eating lunch was to get him to sit still for a few minutes… *G*  When he only had 1/4 of his sandwich left, I gave him some berries, the sandwich was immediately abandoned. 

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