Depending on where you live, you may be missing out on delicious wild berries in the woods. Here is where to start if you’ve never foraged berries.
Getting Started Foraging Berries
Find out if you do have wild berries in your area. You may be able to ask locals, or drive around logging roads or back roads, to see if there are berry plants. Amazon has some great books on not only foraging for berries, but wild edibles and guides to medicinal plants. The one I recommend purchasing is Midwest Foraging: 115 Wild and Flavorful Edibles from Burdock to Wild Peach. There are also other books that are written for different locations around the US. It can be helpful in identifying plants so you know what to look for and can avoid dangerous plants.
Know your season
We live in Northwest Minnesota and our seasons can vary depending upon weather conditions (hot or cool summers, early frost, drought, etc.). For example, last season was terrible for wild blueberries. A late frost and drought conditions produced little to none. However, the wild raspberries thrived. This season, the wild blueberries were bountiful, and it looks like the wild raspberries will be as well but will be a bit further behind in ripening than last season.
Know what to look for
Wild blueberries grow close to the ground and often like deadfall. We have found that the larger blueberries are often under a bit of grass. Wild raspberries grow up higher, but also like growing in deadfall. Old logging areas are often great for foraging berries.
Check, check, check
Seasons can go fast. One week the berries can be ripe, and the next they can be done (dependent upon when you check them).
Finally, some useful items to have include:
Bug spray, tick spray, bucket, sun hat & sunscreen. A lot of people like to pick with pants and socks pulled over pant legs to prevent ticks. Personally, I like to pick in shorts (call me crazy). You can also opt to purchase a berry picker, Berry Picker with Metallic Comb, which can be found on Amazon.