The southern part of my state is known for these:
But our part of the state is known for these bad boys:
That's right. Huckleberries. Justin and I grew up with the very special summer treat of huckleberry pancakes while camping and huckleberry ice cream or Huckleberry Buckle after we got home. Now that we are back home, we wanted to get some.
For the past several weeks, my husband has been asking everyone
who will sit still where to find a good huckleberry patch. Turns out, this is a highly guarded secret. People get crazy defensive about the location of their huckleberry patches and resort to covert actions to keep the secret. The reason? They are more valuable than gold. Somewhat like a wild blueberry, this particular variety only grows in this region and, reportedly, cannot be transplanted or domesticated. You'll never see a huckleberry bush at the local Lowe's
. . . and if you do, you'll know it is an impostor.
Anyway, while we were up at the
secret lake, Justin desperately searched the bushes nearby. It was actually rather pitiful, the amount of work and determination he put into the two tablespoons of not-quite-ripe berries he did manage to find.
It was at about this point in the homeward trail that it happened. I smelled that unmistakable scent of ripe huckleberries.
"JUSTIN, JUSTIN! LOOK!!"
and I gestured to the loaded hillside.
Having not planned on picking that day, none of us had buckets or fully qualified bags, but we did have empty ziplock sandwich bags. We hastily wiped the mayo that had been squashed out onto the insides of the baggies and began filling them.
We spread out and canvassed the hillside for the precious fruit.
And even though not everyone was putting the fruit they picked into their baggies, we did bring home a couple of quarts of huckleberries.
My good husband was so happy. After praising my sometimes overly sensitive olfactory system, he confided on the way home that he thought that the finding of the huckleberry patch was a tender mercy* from a loving parent.
I thought so, too.