Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Huckleberry Crop 2008 Updated Report: Spotty!

Greetings again!

I had a chance to pick huckleberries near Clark Fork, Idaho on Saturday, with friends John & Gail Suhfras and their daughter Becky and hubby Josh.

Higher elevation huckleberries were very green, some berries just starting to get there, and quite large! According to John and Josh, the huckleberry crop at that elevation was not as good as years past.

We dropped lower, and got some pretty good berries at mid-elevation, on a south-facing ridge. Berries not quite as big as on top, overall, but much thicker. John took his first session of using a huckleberry rake and enjoyed the effort, finding them much less impactful on the huckleberry plants than he expected.

I had the chance to try out a new rake with plastic teeth, instead of the wire tines on the rakes I use. I could find no difference in performance, very nice. Next year we will be offering this model as well at one of our huckleberry rake web sites. Also, the manufacturer sent us a "kids" rake, sort of a cute miniature of the larger rakes, BUT with the same plastic rake tine shape and spacing as the larger plastic tine rake. I did not get a chance to try it out yet, but it looks like it will be a winner. Just not sure you can get young people to use it. I think the rake is probably suitable for grade school age children. Not sure yet if we will offer the rake, but it probably is a nice touch for family outings. Give me a holler if you think you have an interest in the huckleberry rake model for your kids or grandkids, and we will consider inventorying them.

My buddy Roy from Harrison, Idaho also had a down report on the huckleberry crop, after a fairly rich early forecast. Berries are much sparser than last year on higher ridgetops, still pretty green, and with the dry summer, even ripe huckleberries are starting to show a little stress.

Future posts will include some advance tactics on using a huckleberry rake AND "My First Huckleberry Picking Trip", down nostalgia lane from 1976.

Happy picking!

Malcolm Dell

PS We are working on a community association membership website for huckleberry lovers... stay tuned!

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