Opinion Editorial: What’s with those Huckleberries? (You’re Brilliant, Mr. Boysen)

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Boysenberries on sale at a farmers' market.

Huckleberries are an odd commodity. So very sought after and becoming so very expensive. And yes, they can be a pain to find and get to once you find them.

Huckleberry picking is not for the faint at heart. Often the evasive berry can be found in the dead heat of summer on the side of a cliff in the heart of bear country. Many times I have been in a precarious position hunting down the most sought-after berry on earth (or what seems to be).

To my knowledge, there are seven varieties of huckleberries. Some are small and round with a tougher skin and a matte finish. Others are almost teardrop shaped and shiny and sweeter than the former one mentioned. Some years the berries are HUGE, and some years they seem to be microscopic.

This year there appears to be a new growth ( in massive amounts) down low to the ground, with the leaves being young and oh so tiny. The ‘baby berries’ are adorable but barely worth picking due to their ‘minuteness.’

Itsy bitsy teeny tiny leaves and berries (new growth)

Huckleberries seem to be cyclical. Usually, they are really abundant every 3 or 4 years, with the years in between being so-so.

So far, this year seems to be a ‘so-so’ year. But if you’re desperate, you will pay this year’s going rate of $65-85 a gallon and be darn glad about it! ( Yes, that’s what these little devils are selling for, and even the red ones, which will give you a stomach ache!) Personally, I don’t even pick the red ones- let alone buy them.

But desperate times call for desperate measures, so with gas prices skyrocketing, smoke, and extreme heat on the rise, folks are lining up to buy this precious commodity by the bucketload.

Truth be known, our family LOVES huckleberries, but we’re just as fond of Boysenberries. And with huckleberries being uber expensive and Boysenberries only a fraction of the cost, this girl’s freezer will be stocked (Lord willing) with the latter.

Hats off to you, Mr. Boysen-you, created the most sought-after hybrid EVER.

You can read about the incredible Mr. Boysen by clicking here.

This Op-Ed was written by Brenda Roskos-Editor of Montana Daily Gazette, who has picked a gazillion huckleberries in her life 🙂




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