Posts Tagged ‘Huckleberry rakes’

Huckleberry Snack Mix

Nothing beats huckleberry chocolates, but during the hot summers …. well, chocolate is just not a good thing to pack or take on a trip!

But for those who love trail mix, Wildbeary has developed a Huckleberry Snack Mix.

Wildbeary Huckleberry Snack MixLike a trail mix, Huckleberry Snack Mix includes some healthy and wonderfully tasty ingredients:

  • Roasted and salted almonds
  • Organic soy nuts
  • Chocolate covered sunflower seeds
  • Sesame sticks
  • Craisins
  • Sugar Infused Huckleberries

In case you are not familiar with sugar-infused huckleberries, they are fresh picked huckleberries, soaked in a sugar solution and dried slightly to resemble a huckleberry ‘raisin’ — the closest thing to a fresh shelf stable huckleberry.

And if you are concerned with the chocolate covered sunflower seeds, they can withstand a great deal of heat before they melt.

All in all, this product is perfect for summer day snacks.

Where can you order these?  Just check out our Tastes of Idaho site for Wildbeary Huckleberry Snack Mix.  

While you are there, check out some of our other huckleberry goodies!

Also as you know, huckleberry season is just around the corner.  If you have not already ordered your huckleberry picking rake, make sure to check them out as well — we have several in stock right now, but they sell out fast this time of the year!!


Homemade Huckleberry Rake and Preserves Story

I love the information and ingenuity of this gal.  Not only does she share some huckleberry preserving methods, she talks about two huckleberry rakes she made.

After all was said and done, she ended up buying one of our rakes (NOTE:  She mentioned that she bought her rake from Amazon.  Because we were shorted rakes this season, we did not offer them on Amazon.  You can still buy them on our Huckleberry Rake website!)

Day 226: Do-it-yourself Huckleberry Rake

…Northwest tribal folk dried huckleberries in large cakes and stacked the cakes until ready to use. I picture great purple wheels, like towers of cheese, stacked to the ceiling in corners of longhouses. When berries where needed, a chunk of a wheel was broken off and reconstituted in water. I’ve also seen recommendations for mashing the berries and spreading them out across a screen to dry in the sun. When the mash is dry, it can be crumbled and sealed in storage containers.  I’ll try this option, as I don’t have a free corner to stack cakes of berries. My least favorite preservation discovery is to store the berries in bacon grease or used cooking oil. Yuck! Now that just sounds nasty, but not when considering the huckleberry’s traditional use as fish bait. I never really thought of the huckleberry as fish bait, but it makes perfect sense. It’s the exact right bite for a #8 trout hook. …


Huckleberry Rakes can also be found on our Tastes of Idaho site where we still have a few “Child’s” Huckleberry Rakes as well as the standard Huckleberry Rake (pictured above) available!


What NOT to Do When Picking Huckleberries

Despite warnings and articles on the web and in print, some folks STILL don’t understand how to pick huckleberries.

The following article is an example:

Fools, Huckleberry Bushes Don’t Mix

Posted by DFO

I pulled into Dairy Queen on Appleway in Coeur d’Alene recently with a buddy for something cool … and instead ended up hot under the collar.

There in the parking lot was a North Idaho pick-up truck, the bed piled with huckleberry bushes that had been sheared off in the forests for their prized fruit. The culprits and a car-load or two of friends were “picking” berries in the DQ parking lot, then taking them inside for an illegal huckleberry parfait.

Shame on you! I wish I’d written down your license plates! You might think you’re making easy work for yourself, but you’re not only breaking the law, you’re giving a bad name to the rest of us who look forward to REAL huckleberry picking, AND you’re killing a truck-load of bushes that likely will never produce again, or at least won’t for decades

READ FULL POST — including comments

Tips for picking huckleberries without damaging the plants

More info on picking huckleberries


Huckleberry Pickers Warned Not to Damage Plants

With huckleberry season in full swing in many areas, the forest service is cautioning picker NOT to damage the huckleberry plants by cutting off the berry loaded branches!

Pick huckleberries without damaging plant, Forest Service pleads

NATIVE PLANTS — The huckleberry bush, the most revered shrub in the Inland Northwest, is getting less respect as berry pickers succumb to greed.

Practices are getting so bad, the Forest Service has issued a media release warning that recently observed practices — such as CUTTING OFF A BUSH SO BERRIES COULD BE MORE EASILY PICKED — are against the law and punishable by a fine of up to $5,000.

My god.

It’s safe to say most huckleberry plant abusers aren’t among the families returning to their favorite huckleberry hot spots generation after generation.  None of these people wants to damage plants and reduce the harvest of future years.

However, many people may not realize the senseless and improper use of rake-like huckleberry pickers also damages the berry bushes.

Meanwhile, read on for more information on the latest damaging practices reported by the Forest Service.

Currently, on the Nez Perce-Clearwater NFs, there are no regulations in effect for huckleberry picking. However, damaging and/or removing huckleberry bushes/brush on National Forest lands is a violation and can carry a penalty of up to 6 months in jail and/or up to $5,000 fine.

In more than one instance, pickers have recently been observed cutting a pickup load of huckleberry brush and picking berries from the brush they cut.

Huckleberries grow on the current year’s growth of plant. If the plant is cut off at the ground, the plant is destroyed. Something else will grow in its place before the huckleberry can regrow, thus destroying the patch for future crops.


Dr. Dan Barney demonstrating the correct use of a Huckleberry Rake

Find out the proper way to use a Huckleberry Picking Rake by reading the instructions posted on the Huckleberry Rake website.  Videos are included.



Huckleberry Picking Forecast

Latest Huckleberry Picking Forecast from “Mr. Huckleberry”!

Revised wild huckleberry forecast! After getting several reports, I am expecting a pretty good huckleberry year… best since 2009. Maybe a week or two late due to the long cool spring, but temps higher than 2011′s cold wet spring, so ripening did occur this year. Also, unlike 2011, we are getting some respite from the hot dry weather, with periodic thunderstorms in most areas. High elevation berries probably WILL ripen this year. I am pretty jacked about the season.

Huckleberry picking tools are IN! With the hot weather, the wild huckleberry season might be short. We have a limited supply of huckleberry rakes in stock, they will not last long. Get yours now.

Order your Huckleberry Picking Rake today!


Looking Like a Promising Huckleberry Season!

If you are getting tired of all the rain we have been experiencing in the Rocky Mountain area, don’t despair just yet!  Most of this annoying rain is SNOW in the higher elevations.  And a good snow pack on the mountains normally translates into a great huckleberry season in the summer.

Now, I cannot guarantee anything at this point, but (baring a late frost) it is looking really good so far.

So, while you are dreaming of those dark juicing little berries dropping into your buckle in a few months, savor this huckleberry review from last fall:

Elk Lake News:  Huckleberries #2


Wooden Berry Picker

great uncle henry’s berry picker


This tool, this beautiful tool, is a berry picker/berry comb, the only thing I inherited from my great uncle Henry and his wife, my great aunt Mildred….



Do Huckleberry Rakes Damage Plants?

In case you have missed it, there has been a very interesting discussion going on about the use of huckleberry rakes.  Historically, opinions on this issue are strong on both sides and  the discussions here are no different!  Click on the following links to read the posts and/or to post comments of your own!

Original post by Katie:

From katie g on New Huckleberry Rakes In Stock!

Raping the huckleberry plant with a “Huckleberry Rake” should be illegal as these plants are difficult enough to find and …

Response post by “Mr. Huckleberry”:

From Mr. Huckleberry on New Huckleberry Rakes In Stock!

Greetings, Katie, I appreciate your passion for the huckleberry resource! However, if you had ever seen a huckleberry rake used, you would …

After reading the discussions, what are your thoughts?


New Huckleberry Rakes In Stock!

Our new shipment of huckleberry rakes are currently in stock!

Huckleberry rake with wire tines

Huckleberry rake with wire tines

Received out pallet load of huckleberry rakes on Monday.  Since we are right on the edge on huckleberry season, we were anxious to get this pallet load ready for delivery to our customers.  But, low and behold, we opened the first case to label and deliver and realized the sent us the WRONG RAKES!!  The pickers we are selling have wire tines whereas the new ones have plastic tines.

NOTE: Huckleberry rake with wire tines that we have been selling is pictured on the left.  The Huckleberry rake with the plastic tines is pictured on the right.

Huckleberry Rake with Plastic Tines

The plastic in the “new” model is very thick, stiff and durable, and yet very pliable, so the rakes are well engineered. Spacing between tines is identical to the metal tines.

Both models were field tested two years ago, and any difference in performance with the metal toothed verses the plastic toothed was negligible.

So, since this was not the rakes we ordered, we received a great deal on this pallet load that we are extending to all of our customers.

Check out our website for details … and happy huckleberry picking!!


Capital Press Says: Huckleberries May Be the Next Hot Berry

Article in the Capital Press, Wednesday April 29

Huckleberries may be next hot berry
Research centers on taming wild berries so they’re easier to cultivate

Matthew Weaver
Capital Press

New and improved huckleberry varieties will go to cooperating growers, researchers and nurseries next spring.

“We have the plants out in our nursery. They need another season of growth before I’m comfortable shipping them out,” said Dan Barney, University of Idaho professor of horticulture and superintendent of the university’s Sandpoint Research Extension Center.

The huckleberries will be tested to determine if they are good enough to name and release to the public. More varieties would then be available in 2012 and 2013.

“We are in position to make tremendous advances rapidly in the quality of the material because we’re so early in the breeding program from the wild,” Barney said. “We can make quantum leaps in quality.”

As the breeding program progresses, improvements become more incremental, he said.

“Some of the early varieties are going to be good, but they’re not going to be as good as the ones that come on later,” he said.

Barney said huckleberries are an up-and-coming crop with tremendous economic potential, both for fruit production and nursery production of the plants to sell to fruit growers.

Cultivating huckleberries will also protect wild stands from excessive harvesting, he said.

“It is an important natural resource we would like to protect from over harvesting and poor management practices,” he said.

Such measures would protect the plants and berries for recreational pickers and small processors, marketers and native Americans who use the plants as part of their culture.

Huckleberry research began in 1994, Barney said.

The huckleberries of most interest to the center fall within the taxonomic section Myrtillus, which includes the Idaho state fruit, the mountain huckleberry; the European blueberry or bilberry; the oval-leaf bilberry and the Cascade huckleberry.

The mountain huckleberry is most widely harvested throughout the Northwest and in Canada, Barney said.

Malcolm Dell is founder and executive coordinator of the fledgling International Wild Huckleberry Association, which has about 50 members.

“The wild huckleberry resource is in trouble,” Dell said, citing changes in fire frequency, logging practices and climate. Commercial producers are also competing for berry sources.

Barney’s research will take the pressure off the wild resource, as international and national markets increase for huckleberry products, Dell said.

“We have more companies starting up using huckleberries at the same time we have a declining resource,” he said. “It’s kind of a scary situation. Last year was the best crop in 15 years in huckleberries, but it was the exception, not the rule.”

Using Barney’s research, there is the opportunity to provide field-grown huckleberries, which would be a slightly different market but allow businesses a quality, cultivated product at a lower cost than wild berries.

“It’s getting harder and harder to find people to harvest the wild resource in this country,” he said.

It’s not certain how large the huckleberry industry actually is, Barney said, because a majority of it takes place “underground,” and there is no central organization.

Huckleberries are sold regionally in many different products, and are exported, particularly to Pacific Rim countries, and are popular in upscale restaurants. At a recent luncheon, President Barack Obama served huckleberries in the featured dessert.

In addition to the association, Dell and his wife, Sandy, operate Gourmet Innovations LLC, which includes a variety of huckleberry products, from syrups and jams to salsa and mustard.

The association formed after a similar organization languished, Dell said. The Dells decided to create a supporting website and bring people together to discuss the wild berries.

“We’re mostly in the building phase right now, trying to get people together and talking about what this organism is going to be when it grows up,” Dell said.

They are also getting involved in legislative issues.

Because huckleberries grow singly on a stem, as opposed to blueberries, which can be harvested quickly, they are picked individually by hand or using a rake. Different methods of harvest are being examined, Barney said. Rakes date back to native Americans, but Washington state bans the use of rakes.

Barney said the law is “not based on research, just more of a philosophy-type of thing.”

Dell said huckleberry rakes make for good tools that don’t damage plants.

Researchers are also working in cooperation with native populations to rediscover past methods of growing and harvesting the berries, Barney said.

The research primarily impacts nursery growers and fruit growers who either manage wild stands or cultivate huckleberries, Barney said.

The Sandpoint center has been primarily funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Northwest Center for Small Fruit Research and a grant to examine the health properties of huckleberries and bilberries.

“They are indeed very rich in anthocyanins and antioxidants,” Barney said.

A grant typically runs from $10,000 per year to $28,000 per year, with the exception of a $100,000 grant several years ago from the federal government to look at the biochemistry.

“We’re hoping to increase that,” Barney said.

Barney’s program is in danger of losing funds as a result of the current Idaho budget squeeze, but the association is trying to rally support, Dell said.

One of Barney’s pet peeves is people coming into the area, picking the fruit and shipping it overseas.

“There’s no return to our area in terms of the economy,” Barney said. “So there’s no additional resources to help maintain this. I would like to see that change, so the production, processing and marketing take place here. The whole world still can benefit from this, but let’s keep this an important resource for our area. This can be the huckleberry center of the world.”

Dell wants to see huckleberries get the acknowledgment and value he feels they deserve in the marketplace, similar to blueberries. He’d like to see healthy growth in the industry without worrying about supply.

“Blueberries are a wonderful berry, but if you really like a berry, huckleberry has many advantages,” he said. “Because huckleberries have a more intense flavor, of course they have some detractors. But most people who like blueberries love huckleberries.”

Matthew Weaver is based in Spokane, Wash. E-mail:

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