garden

Olallieberries

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Growing up in coastal California, there is nothing that signifies summer more than stained black hands from the sweet treat of picking olallieberries. There is a great park down the street from where I grew up, and each year, the roadside bevy of olallies supplied just enough for a fresh summer pie that my mom would make as soon as the berries made it home. Of course, there was really enough berries for two pies, but I took my tax straight out of the bucket, invoking a “one for me, one for the pie” rule. A combination of a Logan berry and a Young berry, the olallie to me is the perfect combination of sweet and tangy, and I look forward to their season with relish every year. Thus, it was with shock and disappointment, when I read last year that olallies were declining in our area. My hubby and I, in an effort to investigate further, drove the 15 odd minutes North of town to our favorite u-pick farm, and indeed, there were no olallie’s for picking, no olallies for pies, jams, croissants… they had all been pulled out because of a pervasive mildew. Thus, it was with joy and surprise when I stumbled upon an olallieberry plant at our local garden store. I immediately purchased one for my mom and I as Christmas gifts, and to perpetuate our pie tradition, but subsequently failed to pot the precious olallie  (I have to admit, I am often guilty of buying lovely plants and then neglecting them in their plastic containers until I finally feel so bad I put them in the ground- I suppose that is just the nature of working full time and not having as much time in the garden as I could hope for). Anyways, I recently decided to give this guest of honor a beautiful spot to call home permanently, and stuck it in an oversized wine-barrel. Now, unencumbered by the small plastic pot, the little olallie is looking good, and even has blossoms! I am not sure if it will also be impacted by the mildew that has claimed so many others, but if the berries survive a couple more months, I know I will be enjoying a delicious summer pie in no time! Fingers crossed!!

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