by Kathleen Albin


It’s berry season and I LOVE to pick berries! I've got my blueberries, got my blackberries, but without a doubt, my favorite is the red raspberries rendered from the bushes I planted three years ago in my back yard. It's nothing fancy - just four bushes outside my bedroom window. But what a treasure they are!

Red raspberries grow wild where I grew up in northern Wisconsin. Every year, it was a ritual to go berry picking. My mother, sister and I would tie our tin berry buckets to our waists and off we’d go, deep into the northern woods to hopefully fill them with the coveted fruits, knowing the obstacles that might lie ahead. Granted, Wisconsin doesn't host chiggers, but if the mosquitoes didn’t carry you away, a black bear definitely could, should you have the misfortune of meeting up with one. They’re not keen on sharing their berry patch. So it was in trepidation we picked, all the time feeding the mosquitoes, who do not differentiate between night and day up there. By the time we got a small bucket full, one could definitely say it was well earned.

These days, however, life is not as advantageous. Every other morning, I can step off my patio (sometimes even still in my house coat) saunter a few steps through my lawn to pick a cup of fresh raspberries. My bushes make little demands - a bit of pruning in the fall and inexpensive bird netting cast over them in the spring renders me large plump berries just right for my morning yogurt, or an evening dessert, plus enough to freeze or make jam. For me, berry picking takes me back to a simpler time, and remains one of the joys of summer. With a few back yard bushes, it can for you too!



*Your favorite pancake mix
*2 Cups red raspberries
*1/2 Cup Sugar
*Small tub of Cool Whip

Mix your pancake batter as you would for a normal batch of pancakes. Pour in greased and floured 9 x 13 cake pan. Cover batter evenly with berries, and sprinkle sugar over all. Bake at 350 degrees til light brown and not gooey. Let cool from oven, and serve warm with dollop of whipped cream. Enjoy! (Can also use this recipe with blueberries or blackberries.)

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