For the Love of Elderberries

When I was a little girl, my grandfather would take me on hunts for all sorts of things growing in the woods and fields nearby. Bittersweet, blackberries, raspberries, elderberries, mushrooms - we'd hunt for them all.

My favorite forays were for elderberries.

They were easy to pick and best of all, they didn't have the dreaded thorns of blackberries.

Blackberries, while delicious, are evil. They force you to wear heavy sweatshirts, long pants and boots - usually on the hottest day of Summer - in order to pick them.

Elderberries, on the other hand, are quite accommodating. They are a laid-back, mellow kind of fruit.

They grow at the right height and don't have a single thorn. As a kid, I could pick at my level, leaving the higher growing berries for my very tall grandfather. 

And best of all, when we finished picking, we'd head home and make that delicious concoction: The Elderberry Pie. (I heard angels sing just now, did you??) 

A warm slice of elderberry pie with cold, slowly melting vanilla ice cream is a thing of beauty. A glimpse into heaven. A fruit that could launch a thousand ships.

My grandfather was a pie baker. After he retired from the steel yards, he spent his days gardening, fishing and pie baking. If you received a pie from Grandpa Flick, you were one lucky human. Strawberry Rhubarb, Apple, Cherry, Peach - all baked from scratch at the height of the season and delivered warm.

But elderberry pie was, and still is, my favorite pie. (Shhhh, don't tell the pumpkins. I don't want them to feel bad that they're number two in my heart.)

And don't get me started on elderberry jelly.

I'm tellin' ya folks, the elderberry is an underrated fruit!

But not here at Elderberry Marsh. No siree. We like it so much we named the property after it. And the company. 

Little did my grandfather know what all he was passing along on those trips to the forests and fields of my childhood - a love of the outdoors, a passion for rustic and wild places, a curiosity about nature ... and a never-ending adoration of the simple elderberry. 

Thanks grandpa.

1 comment

  • I took my mother the jar of elderberry jelly I bought at the country living fair. It is delicious and brought back memories of 50 years ago when she picked elderberries, made jelly, and I ate her jelly!

    Jill Gibbs

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