Fruits of Summer Just Ahead?


It’s looking to be a great summer for blackberries, but it’s also looking like a great year for heat. So any berry picking will be before breakfast and will result in fresh fruit on that day’s cereal. I was sorry I waited a few days too long to take pictures, since by the time I got around to it, petals were dropping and the fruits were already starting to swell.

Even this close to a bumper crop, if the heat continues this hot this early and we stop getting the regular rains we’ve been blessed with, the best we’ll hope for is hard little knots of bitter fruit.

It is all quite out of our hands until we have those telltale purple stains on our hands and around our mouths.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Be happy for the rain and enjoy the berries. Our crop of small mostly tart dewberries are a distant memory from a month or more ago.

    What with heat and no rain we are already 7″+ behind for the year and heat indexes have been above 105 all week.

    The winds off the Gulf are beginning to drop fast moving rain showers in narrow bands running inland. We finally had a small shower on Thursday, our first in over a month.

  2. Our strawberries are just winding down as are the mulberries. Blackberries and dewberries, each of which I’ve had at previous homes, we don’t have! Good berrying.