Today was our first day to pick our first harvest of summer berries. Raspberries, Currants and Red Huckleberries are all ripe this time of year and our edible landscape is exploding with fruit.
I love picking berries – probably because I employ the “one for the basket; one for my mouth” picking technique. But picking the small berries, like Currants or Huckleberries (and in a few more weeks, Blueberries) can be tedious and time consuming. Big hands, small berries, and lots of branches make harvesting frustrating.
This year I found a new tool that makes picking these beauties much easier- a berry rake! This is not a new tool. Foragers from centuries past have used these to help harvest berries but with the birth of the industrial farms collecting food with large machines, they have fallen off our radars as a solution for our use.
When used properly, the teeth gently comb through the branches and leaves, allowing the berries to pluck off and fall down into a catch chamber within the comb. It is highly efficient and does not strip the leaves off in the process. In a matter of 15 minutes, we had harvested a full bucket of Huckleberries. This would have taken us an hour in the past.
So for those of you that like to pick berries and forage for other edibles, I highly recommend adding a berry rake to your arsenal of tools. Happy picking and eating!