I cut back the canes on my black raspberries tonight, finding a few remaining berries hidden among the leaves. This year was truly bountiful–I harvested 24 pints of these berries this year, giving away about two-thirds, trading a few pints for cherries and beer, and eating the rest myself. The canes for next year’s berries are already growing like crazy, and I need to get them tied off on their wires. I’m hoping to repeat this large harvest next year!

While working on these berries, I glanced down at my “regular” raspberries, first planted over two years ago. Last year I got nothing, but I noticed a few flowers and berries for this year. Then, moving a branch, I spotted a couple of deep pink, ripe raspberries. I hope to get lots more of these berries! They are so light and delicate, I think they are best savored by themselves, not eaten on cereal or ice cream like I usually eat berries.

But, that’s not all. Last year I planted some stone fruit trees and, in the busyness surrounding my trip to Scotland, I never did knock all the blossoms off a couple of plums. (I try to keep fruit off new trees the first couple of years so all the growth goes into the tree instead of the fruit.) But, I just didn’t have time, so, now I’ve got a small harvest of plums. The past few days, I’ve been snacking on small, melt in your mouth (melt in my hand, if I’m not careful!), juicy, sweet red plums. Another tree, with yellow plums, isn’t ripe yet, so they will be coming along in a week or two. This actually is planned. When I planted my trees, I selected varieties that would, hopefully, ripen at different times, to spread out the harvest over a longer period. At least with these two trees, it’s working. My other stone fruit aren’t doing as well, but I’ll keep experimenting.

It gets better. Several years ago, I planted an apple tree and have been letting it grow. This year I let about 40 blossoms stay on the tree, and now have apples getting ripe. I picked a couple tonight to try them out. They’re not quite ripe, still a bit tart. But, there’s enough juicy flavor to complement a couple squares of dark chocolate and make a fine dessert. With the apple, I’m also hoping for a staged harvest. The tree is a Fuji, but when I planted it, I grafted two varieties (Gravenstein and something else, maybe Gala) from an old tree in my yard. So, I now have three varieties on the one tree. Hopefully they will ripen at different times, extending my harvest.