Berry Pickin’ Days…

“We kids loved the idea of eating anything stolen, especially with lots of butter.” -Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

When Elsie moved, she showed me a bag of elderberries she had stored in the freezer & asked if I would be able to use them. I said yes, not really thinking about it, and then after some thinking, proceeded to make them into blueberry-elderberry bars. Elderberries don’t have a lot of flavor but they DO have tons of vitamin C and anthocyanins, as well as phenolic compounds. All sorts of good stuff for your body. I finally asked her where she’d gotten them, expecting that they were perhaps leftover from a wine-making kit or something. “I just picked them as I was walking around,” she said. Hmmm…



I did a little research and found out elderberries start showing up in August in northern Colorado. Then I kept my eyes peeled. I’m not the best at plant identification, but Elsie and I take roughly the same bike route a lot of the time, so I figured I might find some elderberries if I kept my eyes peeled.


Elderberries found!

And today…jackpot! Not only a massive bush brimming with ripe elderberries but a really cool katydid to boot! It was like the elderberry gatekeeper. I tried to keep a respectful distance as I stripped branch after branch of the berries.


So. Many. Berries!!

I got some strange looks by passers-by on the bike path. I explained to a few that I was picking elderberries, and got still more quizzical looks. Sigh. It’s free fruit!! Like Kingsolver, I loved the idea of anything stolen. No butter necessary for these babies though.


Katydid! Can you see it?


Guardian of the elderberries. I stopped badgering it once I got a few photos.

I’ll likely go pick more later…the idea of leaving so much abundance to waste is terrible to me, and I am already dreaming of the berry bars I’ll be whipping up here soon.


The haul so far. Yesss!!

I’m so grateful that the life I lead allows me the opportunity to stop for some trailside berry-picking. Life is really pretty good.


I'm a writer living in Northern Colorado. I also help run the front of the house for the Fort Collins Bike Co-op. I have two cool roommates and a snorey cat. I love my life.

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