I suppose we’ll take a walk.
We live on a small side-street, a steep slope on a cliff over the beach.
Our beach access is a long series of staircases. We are used to the blackberries that grow in towering canes, barely held back by use and frequent shearing. We pick them in August, leaning as far as we can over the railing into the tangle of thorns, dark, prehistoric almost. Blackberry picking is a strong memory of this place, the musk of the ripe fruit, dry brown prickles on the tongue, the heady smell of wild yeast and the brink of alcohol ferment.
But it is not blackberry season, and that is not what we find. It is June; we expect nothing yet. But we stumble upon what look like golden blackberries – apricot, yellow-orange, and sometimes blushed vermilion.
First we see two or three. Then, deeper, five and eight and ten. We pick what we can carry.
At first, we have no idea what it is. But it is fragrant and beautiful so we eat one.
Back at home, with a bit of wiki-searching, Lisa finds our fruit: the salmonberry, native to the Northwest.
It has a delicate flavour, lightly tart with a pleasing roundness and hints of that same, ripe berry musk. An early summer version of the late-summer blackberry thing. And a little bit of stone fruit in there somewhere too.
One of many beautiful summer surprises.