It's wild blackberry season in American Canyon, and they're ripe for the picking! Blackberry bushes have been spotted at Newell Open Space (near the picnic area) and Shenandoah Park (near the creek).
But, you may have spotted a great blackberry picking spot in one of our other parks, too. We won't tell...
Wild blackberries grow along sunny roadways, up fences, and in meadows throughout North America. They're easy to identify just like the blackberries you'd find at the grocery store, and with no known poisonous look a-likes they're a great choice for family foraging. Even though wild blackberries are easy to spot, it's a good idea to be 100% sure of a wild plant's identification before consuming.
Here are a few other things to keep in mind when picking blackberries:
Wild blackberries often grow along roadsides, which are sometimes sprayed with herbicides to lower the risk of fire. If you notice a distinct line of dead plants near a blackberry bush, this area has likely been sprayed with herbicides, and you should look for a different spot to forage.
MAKE SOME NOISE
Humans aren't the only ones interested in scoring some free blackberries. You never know who might have been enjoying your favorite berry bush before your arrival. Make plenty of noise when approaching a berry bush to scare off any lingering critters.
LOOK BEFORE YOU REACH
Don't stick your hand into places that you can't see. Where there are berries there are mice. Where there are mice, there are snakes... and probably a few spiders, too.
Berry branches have thorns. If you plan to pick more than a handful of berries you should wear pants, long sleeves, and a pair of gloves. Remember, berry juice stains, so wear old clothing.
BRING A CONTAINER
Berries can be squished easily, so bring along a hard-sided container, like a bucket or basket. Want to pick faster? String an old coffee can around your neck with a shoelace and you'll keep both hands free for picking!
ONLY PICK RIPE BERRIES
Ripe blackberries are large, plump, deeply colored and fall right off their stem without tugging. Under-ripe berries are extremely tart. Note that they won't ripen off the bush.
Stay tuned to our blog for more advice and outdoor fun! Also, follow us on Facebook for the latest news on docent-led hikes, events and fundraisers that we are putting on to help support parks, programs and play in American Canyon.