Posts Tagged ‘picking huckleberries’
Huckleberry season is definitely winning down — it appears to have been a good year for huckleberries and those picking them in the wilds!
But it is always time to learn more about huckleberries.
I found this excellent article the other day and wanted to share it with you:
Vaccininum membranceum/ Globare (complex)’ V. ovatum; Gaylussacia species
The delightful word huckleberry, means one kind of berry in Massachusetts, another kind in Missouri, another in Montana, and yet another at America’s edge along the Mendocino coast. This same charming name is used for at least six species of purple berries. Like the orthodox devotion to one’s regional BBQ, every region knows that their type of huckleberry is superior. I personally adore our Pacific coastal evergreen huckleberries, V. ovatum, while my friends in Montana think I’m crazy to like those tiny tart berry ball compared to their big fat sweet berries.
The article talks further about the huckleberries in three distinct regions:
- “Mountain” Huckleberry
- Coastal Evergreen Huckleberry
- Eastern Huckleberry
Also, there is a section on the following:
As you know, we sell huckleberry picking rakes. Rakes can increase your yield 4 to 10 times in the same amount of time as picking by hand. Our rakes, in particular, are light weight and easy to use.
(If you want more info on our huckleberry rakes, check out our website, Huckleberry Rake. where you will find videos, pictures and written instructions.)
But too much mis-information floats around the web and elsewhere about huckleberry picking rakes. Rather than list all the reasons why huckleberry rakes are safe, I have prepared a mini-website that addresses those issues here: Huckleberry Picking Tool Myths.
Over the years, we have worked with Dr. Dan Barney — affectionately known as Dr. Huckleberry — who was the leading expert on huckleberries at the University of Idaho. He not only tested our rakes, he also endorsed them (info on the site noted above). Unfortunately, the UI closed his huckleberry project in Sandpoint a few years ago and he is else doing other plant related research.
Then only location we are aware of that bans the use of huckleberry picking rakes is the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington. (There has been a report that they are also banned in some places in Oregon, but we have been unable to confirm the report at this time.)
The Forest Service Gifford Pinchot National Forest site is filled with interesting information on huckleberries such as:
- Changes in Washington law regarding the sale of Wild Huckleberries
- History of huckleberries
- Development of berry fields
- Safety while picking
- Questions and Answers about huckleberries
Should you decide to pick huckleberries (or any other berry or forest grown items) on forest service lands or national forests, I suggest you check with the local forest service office for details and regulations.
In the meantime, enjoy your berries!!
Upon my search for huckleberry information, I ran across this article from last fall. Although the article is nearly a year old, it offers some good information and tips on picking huckleberries.
The article is written by John Reid who is a University of Calgary Faculty of Kinesiology graduate and Precision Nutrition Certified Sports Nutritionist
Here are some of the highlights of his article:
Here are some berry picking tips (and no-nos):
- Picking berries in a national park is prohibited. Provincial parks allow it with verbal approval from a conservation office. If you aren’t in a park, or on private land, pick away.
- Remember that berries are a valuable food source for other wildlife, pick only enough for yourself. Four cups is a good rule of thumb.
- Always, always, ALWAYS bring bear spray. Keep it on your belt and know how to use it.
- If you do see wildlife, leave immediately and try not to disturb it. Berries are their food and you’re in their area.
- Do not damage the rest of the plant when picking. Leave unripe berries, leaves and branches on the plant.
- Bring lots of water and sun protection. You can dehydrate fast when you’re pickin’ hard.
- Don’t pick or eat berries you can’t identify.
- Try not to eat them faster than you can pick them…
Huckleberry season here in Idaho/Montana is just about over, but from what I have been hearing on the web, it is in full swing in Oregon and northern California.
Check out the post by Melissa Trainer who is ….
If you are interested in gathering wild huckleberries throughout the Pacific Northwest (including Alaska, Montana and Idaho) this August and September, here are a few tips and resources for doing so:
Where to find them: Huckleberries can be found in Northwest coastal and subalpine areas with abundant sunshine (blueberries, a closely related plant, has a much wider distribution in North America). Many clearcut areas have berries, but note that many prime locations get picked quickly. Ask a forest or park ranger for suggestions on trails where you can find them, or use the resources below.
When to pick them: Huckleberries reach their peak in mid-August and September.
Picking tips: Both birds and bears love to gorge on these berries, too. So, make noise and be bear aware while foraging and picking. Don’t overpick; leave plenty behind for the local wildlife.
Picture and article courtesy of REI and Melissa Trainer!
(Make sure to check out Melissa’s huckleberry pancakes!)
The writer of this article does not tell us EXACTLY where she went picking, but here is the story she wrote on July 23, 2012
Wild Huckleberry Harvest!After checking our secret huckleberry spot up on the mountain two weeks ago, we’ve been counting the days until we could head back up and find a mountain covered with dark purple, juicy huckleberries. Heading up the mountain yesterday seemed like the perfect reward for finishing the painting in our back room just in time for my parent’s visit this week.
As we drove up the windy, rocky dirt road to our huckleberry spot high up on the mountain, we eagerly watched the mountainside. The trees are tall and thick but the forest floor is covered with huckleberry bushes as far as the eye can see. Simply amazing!
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!
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: