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boysenberry tales from the land of hazelnuts

Our Sam has just come back from the States where she's been learning everything there is to know about boysenberries.

For those of you who have never seen a boysenberry in the flesh before, they look like a Sumo blackberry and are thought to be a cross between a loganberry, blackberry and raspberry (though no one is really sure).

Here's an nice shot of some boysenberries in the early morning sunshine.

Boysenberry_bush

We get our boysenberries from the Willamette Valley in Oregon, a beautiful and extremely fertile area where they also grow hazelnuts, grass seed and Christmas trees. A handy place to be if you're planning on making a hazelnut and grass seed boysenberry pie in December.

Williamette_valley

And here's a photo of Sam during boysenberry harvest, looking slightly confused

Hmm

The reason she's looking a little dazed is that it was rather early in the morning when this photograph was taken.

One of the biggest threat to berries is field heat, so instead of picking them in the middle of the day when it's very hot, the berries are harvested at night when it's much cooler. That way, they're picked at their best and are sorted immediately by the side of the field to ensure the freshest, tastiest crop possible.

Boysen_sorting

It's all done mechanically as it's quite difficult to tell by eye when a boysenberry is ripe. The fruit tends to colour up very quickly so it's hard to know which berries are ready and which ones aren't. The machine has a comb-n-shake type action, which means the ripe berries get shaken off and the less ripe ones get to stay in the sun that little bit longer.

You can have a go at shaking your own boysenberries here, though combing smoothie through your hair afterwards is not recommended.