Blackberries would have to be the most readily foraged plant in Canberra. They grow throughout the territory along roadsides and in an amazing number of scrubby areas tucked into the city’s suburbs. Yet given the cost of blackberries at the markets or shops, (or worse still potential infection from poorly handled frozen berries) very few people are actually out there picking.
One of our fellow foragers commented that as a child in country Victoria, any spot like the one where we were picking would attract quite a number of cars. Yet here we were with only the company of passing cyclists and Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos calling in the nearby forest.
People tell me that they are put off by the thought of snakes – I’ve never seen any while picking yet – and the potential for eating berries that have been sprayed by poison. On the latter point the ACT government is so civilised that it gives fair warning of spraying with signs and by using brightly coloured dye when they do spray. The biggest danger I have experienced is getting thorns stuck in my fingers, as I don’t use a glove on my picking hand. I even got a top tip recently for fixing that problem – just put some PVA glue on the spiked finger and after the glue has set, peel it off and the thorns will come out with it.
To say there is a large quantity of fruit to pick is an understatement. In about an hour and a half of easy picking we managed to collect a good 6 litres of fruit between four of us. Even better once we got back to our friend’s place we ate some of what’s left of last year’s harvest served up in this cake dolloped with yoghurt mixed with maple syrup.
What’s not to like about that. See you on the roadsides!