Friday, June 20, 2008

Picking Blackberries

Thank you for all the Happy Anniversary wishes. We had a wonderful dinner out on Wednesday night at a new to us restaurant, called GianMarco's, in Homewood. I didn't take my camera (but probably should have, it's an adorable place). You have to make reservations even during the week, that's how popular it's become. And they were just written up in the paper last week (link above), so I'm sure a lot more folks will find them now. That's what convinced us we had to try it. Read the article if you get a chance and live in this area. It's Italian...and very authentically Italian, we are definitely going back. The food was superb! I had wild musroom ravioli and wow, was it good!

Now, an update on last weekend: Get a load of these blackberries! It's not your imagination and not because these are close-up pics...these are the biggest blackberries I have ever, ever seen. We went last weekend down to Petals from the Past, which I wrote about last year, for their annual Black and Blueberry festival. It's time for blackberries and blueberries to come in, so they open up for a weekend of berry picking.
We missed it last year and my hubby has never been down here, but has a keen interest in blackberries and blueberries, so we went and he was thoroughly impressed with the presentation.
Like me, many of you probably have fond memories growing up of picking wild blackberries in the woods, chiggers eating you alive, but oh were those some fun times. There's just nothing like fresh blackberries. Cobblers, with ice cream, they are a summer staple for us. Those wild blackberries are getting harder and harder to find. My hubby found some last year and we managed to make a couple of blackberry crisps, so he was determined to get more this year. You can see how they train the berries up on wires and posts which makes picking them a piece of cake. They were selling them for $5 a pint and we got 3 pints of them to bring home.

He's picked a few berries on our property, as well as in our neighboring woods, but I'm tellin' ya, they are nothing, nothing like these beauties.
My mouth gaped open as I walked up to the vines and saw this feast for the eyes. They are HUGE! We sat in on a demonstration from the owner's father, who is a former professor for Auburn University and a highly respected horticulturist in Alabama, Arlie Powell. He gave step by step instructions on how to grow these at home, so my hubby paid close attention and took home the handout. You can bet next year we'll have some blackberries and blueberries planted at our house.
The blueberries are just now getting ripe. Beautifully planted, they really take good care of their fruit crops.
Nothing like fresh blueberries too. My parents have several large blueberry bushes at their home in NC and we love to go up there and pick. My mom says the bushes are loaded this year, so we'll plan to go up at the end of July and get some of those.
Aren't they beautiful?
Figs are also grown here.
More blueberries, up close.

It's a nursery as well and they have heirloom plants and lots of fun garden items for sale. Such a fun place to visit and take your kids for an outing. They do several events a year. This is a family owned nursery and well known in Alabama.


Lacecap hydrangeas are just beautiful right now.
And the bees were having a fun time with them.
An oakleaf hydrangea with huge blooms.
And they also have muscadine grapes growing too.
Here you can see how big they are next to a quarter. Amazing, huh?
They are just too pretty (almost!) to eat.
I couldn't resist taking a pic in this white bowl.
And I made a blackberry crisp, which I shared the recipe last year, but will post again:

Fresh Blackberry Crisp
4 cups fresh blackberries
1/2 cup sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
2 TBL. flour, plus 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 stick butter

Preheat oven to 375*. In large bowl, combine blackberries, sugar & lemon juice together with 2 TBL. flour. Pour into deep dish pie plate. In separate bowl, blend remaining 1/2 cup flour, brown sugar, & butter. Mix until crumbly. Sprinkle over berries. Bake for 30 min. until bubbly.
Mine wasn't crumbly when I mixed it all with the butter, but I melted the butter & that's probably why. I think if you let the butter soften & then mix, it would be crumbly. With a little vanilla frozen yogurt, it was certainly yummy!
Thanks for going with us on our little tour of Petals from the Past and I hope you enjoyed this little outing in Alabama.
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Here's a little announcement: I'm going to be a contributing writer for decorating over at Blissfully Domestic Living. If you haven't visited, go and take a peek. It's an online women's magazine with several contributors who write about all sorts of interesting topics that appeal to women. Come on over and see what's happening!
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We have friends from Atlanta (Judy and Paul) coming over this weekend for a wedding and they are staying with us. Judy wants me to take her yardsaling and I've already scoped out a neighborhood sale close by, so guess what we'll be doing Saturday a.m. bright and early?!
Hope y'all have a good one too!

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31 friends stopped by:

The Quintessential Magpie (Sheila) said...

Oooooooooh, yum! One of my favorite childhood memories is hot blackberry cobbler straight out of the oven with vanilla ice cream. You take such great pics. Thanks for sharing.

Rhoda, I want to email you, but can't figure out how to do that. I'm new at all of this. I have something to tell you about Lakeland!

Have a great time thrifting with your friend!

Sheila :-)

Picket said...

Oh my word what a flood of memories you have brought back to me this morning..every year when I was little I went with my grandparents to pick black berries and blueberries and plums..ohhhh the smells that would be in the air when they would be making jams and jellies and cobblers...oh what happy times...speaking of which...Happy Late Anniversary wishes to you and your hubby! Have a great weekend with your friends!!

Jan & Tom's Place said...

*drooling*

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...these blackberries look Delicious!! And I could just about taste the cobbler you made!!!

When my kids were young, I used to pick berries...any kind of berries and made cobblers, jams and whatever I could think of!!!

mmmmmmmmmmm

~Blessings,
Jan

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Hey, Sheila, you can click on that link at the top left that says "email me" & it should bring up my email address in your email browser, but it might only work in Outlook, not sure. But, my direct email is rhoda12@bellsouth.net if that doesn't work for you.

Rhoda

Cathy ~ Tadpoles and Teacups said...

My, oh, my what beautiful pics--my kids and I have picked a million buckets of the wild blackberries over the years (chiggers and pricklies and all).
I enjoyed my stop by your blog.

Blessings~
Cathy

deputyswife said...

We have a stretch of dirt road (about a mile long) that is full of wild blackberries. I make jam, cobbler, and pies. What is even better, no one seems to go pick them but us. So I get loads every year!

Our season starts in another week or so. Be looking for pictures on my site!

Susie Harris said...

Thanks for all the good recipes, yum... Susie H~

Diane@A Picture is Worth.... said...

Thanks for the great recipe. Have fun with your company, and be sure to share with us all the goodies you too find!

Diane@A Picture is Worth.... said...

Thanks for the great recipe. Have fun with your company, and be sure to share with us all the goodies you too find!

MiMi said...

I am new to blogging, but I recently discovered your blog and wanted to let you know that I really enjoy it. This post really brought me back to my childhood with the blackberries, muscadines and figs --- and growing up in GA! My grandmother had a fig tree in her back yard and I can remember having a bowl of sliced figs with sugar and cream on them! YUM

My mother always made THE BEST blackberry cobbler and I haven't had one in years. I cannot believe how big those berries are in comparison to the quarter! Your crisp recipe looks delicious and I will definitely be trying it!

I have actually been corresponding with Petals from The Past regarding a particular rose bush that I was looking for. After seeing this post, I hope I can actually go there some day!

Thanks for sharing.
Emilie

Beverly said...

Aah, blackberries and blueberries. They look divine, and so does you dessert.

Have fun on your yard sale venture. I can't said to see your finds this week.

Joanna said...

Those blackberries look divine! Thank you for the recipe, I will def. have to try it out! ~Joanna

Reynie said...

Your killing me! I keep licking my computer screen for just a little tiny taste of that cobbler but I get nothing! Looks so, so good!

Leigh said...

Delicious! Can you please pass me a fork so I can dig into that! I am goin gthis weekend, as you know I missed the Festival. I too am always agast at the size and beauty of the fruits and plants at PFTP. I love that place. I could spend hours.

Have fun this weekend! I cannot wait to see what you come home with!

Faye said...

Those berries look juicy and tasty! They are monster berries....just huge!!
I love hot blackberry cobbler with icecream too :)

DebraK from ~the Bunnies Bungalow~ said...

I have never seen blackberries that large! Bet they are delish too. We love blueberries & they are so full of antioxidants!
I'll be checking out Blissfully Domestic Living, Have a great weekend, Hugs, DebraK

Tara said...

Rhoda

Yummy, yummy! Glad you shared the recipe!

Janet said...

Those blackberies look absolutely scrumptious. I haven't had a blackberry in many many years, but we used to pick them wild when I was a child too. So yummy warmed by the sun.

Have a fun weekend with your friend,

Janet

jennifer said...

Rhoda those berries are HUGE! Your post and all of the photos were great.

Be blessed.

Jen

Mod Girl said...

What a treat to find your lovely blog and gorgeous photos! I'm from Birmingham (although I don't live there now) and I'm having a great time scrolling through your musings reading about places that are so familiar to me. I'm looking forward to taking in more of your inspiration!

We blueberry picked today!

restyled home said...

My mouth is literally watering after seeing all those delicious berries. I can't wait for strawberry season, myself. There is nothing like nature's candy to tempt the tastebuds!

Congratulations on your new writing gig! It is well-deserved!!!

Linda

justabeachkat said...

Okay, it's after 11:00PM and I'm craving blackberry cobbler! Those look so huge and so delish!

Have a wonderful weekend!
Kat

Jenny said...

What a great day pickin berries. You reminded me that it is berry season. We have a great berry farm up in the local mountains and I guess we better get up there while the berries are still there. We usually get blackberries and raspberries. Yumm!

Nancy Hood said...

I absolutely love Petals From the Past and visit several times a year. Everyone should treat themselves to going at least once!!

Glenda~Many Fond Memories said...

I love to eat blackberries. I will always remember when we were kids and visiting our grandparents in Missouri, they had blackberries down the road from them. We went picking one day and when we came back my grandmother made a blackberry cobbler from scratch. It was delicious. I'll never forget that.

Thanks for sharing
Ciao
Glenda

PAT said...

Wonderful berries, Rhoda! Wish we could find some like that, around here. Blackberries, the small wild ones, grew on our pond bank, at the farm. When I saw your post, the first thing that popped into my head after seeing the beautiful berries, was the thought of picking berries and o my those chiggers!

Pat

Catherine said...

I'm so glad you posted this! I get the Petals newsletter, but got so busy with wedding stuff that I forgot about going down there! If berries are still in, I'll be pickin on Tuesday. Gonna try your blackberry crisp, too.

Thanks for the post and the recipe!

Hooked on Houses said...

Those blackberries look amazing. I feel like I could pluck them right off the screen and pop them in my mouth! Yum. -Julia

Layla said...

You have officially got my tastebuds going crazy Rhoda!! I guess you shouldn't read your blog on an empty stomach! Ha! :-)

Bonita said...

It all looks so yummy! I've seen huge berries like that at the local farmer's market and they are amazing. Can't wait to pick some berries and try that recipe!

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