Has anyone ever gone on the quest for the ultiimate wild blackberry? This Monday morning, we are  conducting a blackberry review from around the country!  How are this year’s wild blackberries doing round your way? Is the lack of summer sun and heavy rainfall pointing to poor pickings? On travels out and about, has anyone spotted fruit that are ripening nicely?  Are there any of our foraging chefs and cooks out there who are considering picking any time soon? After all, we are well into the month of August and the start of September usually heralds the onset of throngs of pickers on country lanes and ditches. Bowls at the ready!  It’s not looking good for that in our areas so far this year. Wild blackberry bushes are not showing much sign of bearing a heavy load. Some blossoms are still budding on the branches – very late in the season. Those which are located in sunnier areas and have managed to be pollinated are forming into berries, but  are still very small, hard  and green. It looks like we’d need a month of constant sunshine to bring them on  to full ripeness,  if we are to have plenty of fruit for seasonal pies and desserts. We are predicting a less than bountiful clutch this year from the nation’s favourite annual wild fruit harvest. Can anyone tell us any different  in the hedgerows and ditches of their region of Ireland? We hope there will be some wild fruit available for our Good Food Ireland Foragers like The Wild Irish Foragers and Preservers and Wild About, who rely on nature’s bounty to produce their wonderful artisan speciality ranges.

 There are some golden rules to be followed when picking blackberries ( provided you find some to pick!), read on : 

  • Always only pick fruits that are fully ripe
  • Avoid picking from bushes near busy roads where car fumes can pollute the fruit.
  • Leave some for the birds – they like berries too!
  • Never pick berries on private property –  unless you have permission from the owner of course.
  • Take care when picking. Wear long sleeves and protective gloves because wid blackberry bushes have tougher branches and thorns than cultivated bushes. Many’s the scratch you can attain in the quest for the ultimate berry!

Follow the country code regarding rubbish – if you take snacks or refreshments with you, make sure you bring all empty packaging or drinks bottles home with you.

Let us know what the wild blackberry crop is looking like where you are. Good Food Ireland Blackberry Watch 2015 is officially launched!

Celebrate the blackberry season with this fantastic Hedgerow Martini recipe from Ballyvolane House.