In July we went huckleberry picking in the foothills that are tucked away at the Western base of the Cascades mountain range. While climbing the road that twisted up to one of the ridges, we happened up on a cluster of unfamiliar berry bushes. The red and golden, raspberry-like fruits were enjoying a persistent summer stream along the north edge of the ridge. While we weren’t completely certain what they were at the time, we picked a handful of the berries and took them home.
After a bit of research, we concluded that both the red and gold versions of the berries were Salmonberries! Salmonberries (Rubus Spectabilis) are native to the pacific northwest and grow in remote locations from Northern California to Alaska. These fruits were historically an important part of diets of many indigenous populations, but are somewhat difficult to find for today’s residents, so we were excited to find some and wondered if we might be able to cultivate them.
We ate some of the berries (they tasted sweet yet tart, like a cross between a blackberry and raspberry) and left the rest to dry out. The next piece is to see if we can start them from seed!
My plan is to plant some of the seed in the next month or two in pots, protected by leaf mulch, and leave them out all winter to soak up the rain. The second set of seeds I’ll plant in January or February in pots in the greenhouse. If any of them sprout, we have friends and family with rural property that would make lovely homes for the seedlings, hopefully somewhat similar to their natural environment.
More updates as the experiment continues…
Have a berry nice day!