August always reminds me of picking raspberries for my grandma when I was a little girl. She had several rows of raspberry bushes in her garden, and I was small enough to maneuver deep into the growth. Two raspberries would go in the little green berry basket, and one would be popped into my mouth, that system repeated until the basket was full.
I’d bring the basket to Grandma, who was weeding and harvesting from the rest of the garden. The raspberries were by far my favorite, but the cucumbers intrigued me. I was an avid pickle fan—still am—and seeing the big yellow blossoms and the eventual fruits they’d become was astounding to my young self. That’s probably why cucumbers were one of the few veggies I ate as a kid because, after all, they were just pre-pickles. Although I didn’t care for my grandma’s pickle recipe, it inspired me to learn to can and develop my own signature pickle recipe. Mine is on the vinegary side (none of that sweet bread and butter business) with garlic and a hint of spicy heat. The bushels of little pickling cucumbers at the farmers market are calling my name…
So that’s what is on the horizon for me as the summer winds down: finding a pick-your- own raspberry operation and pickling. Once MSHS is all set up at the Minnesota State Fair, that is. Our educational display will be on the history of MSHS in celebration of our 150th anniversary as well as Minnesota heritage plants, which have been or will be featured in Northern Gardener magazine this year.
The July/August edition featured raspberries as a heritage plant, which obviously felt appropriate to me on a personal level. So enjoy the abundance farmers markets have to offer, your harvest and the Minnesota heritage of horticulture and plants at MSHS’ State Fair booth!