Wild, Wild West Coast Blackberries



Despite working the same hours and biking the same route as last weekend, my day felt brighter today. Maybe it’s just the sunshine or the heat (we finally hit 90 today!), but I just really was feeling appreciative of and connected to nature. Riding my bike or walking to work gives me a chance to pay attention to things that I miss when I’m driving.  The sights, the sounds, the smells. Sometimes they are really pleasant, sometimes they’re pretty gross. Today smelled like backyard grilling and lilies. And sweat, but that was just me. Like I said, it was hot! Last week smelled like death because of a dead raccoon I passed. Gross? Yes. But… as a CNA and nursing student, I understand life is often gross.
Something I love about Oregon is the overall feeling of wilderness. Trees are everywhere. They reach out to each other across the roads, forming canopies. Their branches like biceps that would crush me in an embrace. Moss is everywhere, climbing the trees and draping them like feathered boas. The moss also threatens to reclaim areas that humans have paved with concrete. People fight it but I like the way it looks: a reminder than mother nature is bigger than we are.
As a child growing up in the midwest, we would pick blackberries at a local park every summer. My mom would turn them into amazing pies if she could pry us away from eating them out of hand. Before I left for Portland, I asked my then fiance if he would go to the park to pick berries with me to make a pie so I could relish my sweet memories one last time. He agreed to, like a good sport and off we went- only to be eaten alive by mosquitos and have nothing but a bowl of tiny, dry berries to prove for it… Little did I know what Oregon had in store for me!
When we arrived here, the first thing I was struck by was the berries! They were everywhere- thorny brambles literally cascading down the walls by the highway, dripping with the biggest, juiciest berries I’d ever seen. And not a mosquito in sight! I’ve since learned this particular variety of berry is an invasive species, but that doesn’t stop them from being delicious. Oregon has other native species, but the Himalayan Blackberry happens to be the easiest to find. I picked the above berries by the side of the road about a block from my apartment.
I’m currently brainstorming and planning a post to commemorate my 2 year Oregon-iversary which will be next week. It’s going to include another Oregon favorite as well- hazelnuts!

Also, if anyone cares to check it out, I opened an Etsy account yesterday. I am making jewelry out of four leaf clovers and other natural items I find. See more here.


Hope you are having a beautiful weekend!
xo/ Nikita


About lacocinaencantada

I live, work, study, and of course cook in Portland. I find nature continuously inspiring and love verdant pacific northwest for its lush and wild charm. I love cooking, baking, drawing, painting, photography, running, yoga, and spending time with people I care about. I believe in eating real food: minimally processed, no weird additives, heavy on the fresh produce and whole grains. I also believe in eating delicious food. Healthy food should be creative, inspiring, and yes taste good! While I strive to make healthful recipes, I never sacrifice taste for "low cal" or "low fat." Everything in moderation is key! I hope to share some of my recipes and thoughts on food or heath issues here. Enjoy :)

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