Berry Picking Tips by Katherine Koller

Poem title: Berry Picking Tips Poet name: Katherine Koller Poem: Haskups or honeyberries are the first to come in June and hang on till August. Mouldy and perfect strawberries grow side by side on the same stem. Some saskatoons ripen before the rest so that the birds are sure to get their share. To find raspberries, it is necessary to change your position and perspective often. When in the black currants, take time to inhale the aroma of the wood. Nanking cherries are heavy in the colander so take care not to drop it. If you pick sour cherries with the stem, they are easy to pit: gently pinch the cherry with one hand; with the other hand slowly pull out the pit with the stem. For lowbush wild cranberries, bend from the waist to get your head beneath your heart. Blueberries are best gathered first thing in the morning and on one knee. For a more pleasant aroma, combine crabapple with highbush cranberry juice when simmering. Chokecherries in dangling clusters like grapes will jell better if collected after first frost. End of poem. Credits and bio: Copyright © Katherine Koller Previously published in The Prairie Journal 79 (Winter 2023). Katherine Koller writes for stage, screen and page. Her books are Voices of the Land: The Seed Savers and Other Plays, Art Lessons (novel) and Winning Chance (stories). Short fiction has also been published in Grain, Room, Epiphany, Alberta Views, Very Much Alive, Polish[ed] and EDify; poems in Prairie Journal, NorthWord, Happiness Reflected and online at Poetry Pause; and creative nonfiction in Prairie Journal, The Pandemic and Me, WestWord and forthcoming in Please Don’t Interrupt. Katherine co-produces Script Salon, a monthly new play reading series in Edmonton.