Jul. 21st, 2012

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It's such a crazy year for weather and crops. Spring started so early, which bumped up all the fruit crops. This year's strawberry season ended right around when it would start in a normal year. Early blueberries and raspberries started to ripen well before the end of June. Peaches and plums are coming in now! Crazy.

I went up to Smolak Farms in North Andover on Friday; they're one of two or three eastern MA farms that has gooseberries and currants, and they have the standard fruit crops as well.  I picked red gooseberries today, and also picked a cup of red and yellow raspberries for a snack.  The gooseberries will go into jam, and I think I got enough extra to make a grunt or fool or one of those old-fashioned New England or British desserts.  I picked blackcurrants at Smolak a few weeks ago and made some nice jam from those as well.

I also went to my new favorite secret blackberry spot before sunset; wild blackberries are just starting to ripen (again, 2 or 3 weeks early), and I foraged about a quart in 45 minutes.  I will try to hit my other spots this weekend too; some years are good and some are sparse, and I haven't done any recon at the other places this season.  

Next on my foraging list is wild blueberries; I've never picked them before, so this might be the year.  I've heard there are some in Middlesex Fells, but I figure I'll probably have better luck in NH or ME.  I'm also interested in scouting beach plums; I've never seen these before, and I have no idea which beaches might have them.  I didn't see any along the North Hampton to Rye stretch in NH last year when I was collecting rose hips, but maybe I just didn't know what I was looking for.  Any suggestions?

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