Wild Blackberry Picking 101 and Family Traditions

We call this WILD for a reason. There are thorns and hard work is involved when picking wild blackberries, but oh the rewards and the family tradition involved. Today I’m going to share this tradition that began several years ago and now we have a whole crew who contributes a little and a lot to this wild endeavor. I’ll point out our best tips for adventure and finding your own patch of delicious and free (provided by God Himself for the pickin’ and enjoyin’) berries in your own area.

We always look forward to these juicy berries in North Carolina, specifically in the Asheville area around the beginning of July. In fact, every year after our vacation, my husband will scout out the best berry patch and see if there are any black ones yet. Typically around this time, there are several patches to choose from.

Here’s our best tips:

  • Look for areas on back roads and/or the parkway.

  • Choose open areas without traffic and less brush when picking with a family

  • Go early in the morning or late in the evening (we pick around six or seven after the sun goes down or lately after a cooling rain).


  • Take water bottles, bug spray, plenty of buckets or pitchers and entertainment for young ones (notice I said water and my three-year old snagged a Pepsi going out the door (leftovers from vacation).


  • Toddlers enjoy snacks in the stroller, snacks out of the stroller, balls, dirt piles, water guns, you name it.

  • Get the whole family involved by providing a cup/bucket/pitcher for each person

  • Wear appropriate clothing and shoes (lightweight long pants and covered toes)

  • Be prepared for thorns and pick with caution.


  • Don’t allow children to walk in the thorn bushes for obvious reasons and snakes!


  • Use your pitcher to maneuver around thorns. Use your shoe to beat down a big thorn limb if you must.

  • Savor the sweet first fruits after you wash them (they’re are tiny bugs/worms) or look carefully and make sure there’s none and pitch a juicy one in your mouth like my daughter.

  • Search high and look low under branches for ripe juicy fruit.

  • Prepare yourself for stained and a somewhat thorny hand depending on how long you picked and how much.

  • Pick a bunch until you’re tired and sweaty (more calories burned) and enjoy your family time.

  • Enjoy God’s creation and savor the FREE wild blackberries you will can or freeze tomorrow for delicious blackberry cobblers, frozen fruit smoothies, homemade crock pot yogurt with frozen blackberries and more (recipes coming soon)

Our family of six (not the baby) picked for an hour and a half and we were blessed with this (about 2 and a half gallons).

Do you have a summer family tradition picking wild or tame berries?

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