My youngest daughter wanted to make “Property Pie.” That is, a pie containing all the different fruit that grows wild on our property and in our woods; this includes wild raspberries, apples, wild strawberries, and elderberries. Obviously getting all of these ripe at the same time is impossible, but making pie out of any particular one is easily done. We chose elderberries.
Working with elderberries fascinates me. Only once in my life have I seen them for sale (the labour involved in harvesting them is too high to make them worthwhile). They are mildly poisonous before being cooked, with the stems and leaves being the most dangerous. They grow in immense numbers in the wild, typically along the edges of open paths where sunlight can penetrate, and often near raspberries. They are tiny, and feel like a small blueberry in your mouth, with quite a noticeable crunch, and will stain your hands or clothes a bright purple when you handle them.
In sum, they are impossible to grow/buy, are mildly poisonous, take forever to harvest, and stain everything. It’s hard to describe why we bother, but like so many people in rural areas, we are attracted to them year after year.
I took some pictures of our work, from forest to fork.