Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Shawangunk Mountain Wild Blueberry & Huckleberry Festival

If you find yourself in the vicinity of the Gunks this coming weekend {which is to say, somewhere between the Catskills and Westchester, or, say, at the CIA or if you even changed to be in Binghamton, you could get there too, yessir}

then please go to the huckleberry festival.
go in my stead.

gunks photo c i eated a cookie
On the west coast they would have you believe that the only true foraged huckleberries come from the pacific northwest. This is simply incorrect as I found out last week while passing thru sleepy Ulster County. What little literature there is on this rad event says

"A celebration of the Shawangunk Mountains: music, BBQ, all-blueberry bake sale and pie judging contest, crafts and cultural area and art center, 9:00AM-4:00PM." Held somewhere in the town of Ellenville NY.

Huckleberries have been a foraged crop for hundreds of years, possibly dating back to 400 AD if you believe geologists.

If you're lucky you'll catch the eyes of an old-timey huckleberry picker who used to pick crops when the only roads between sleepy Hudson Valley towns were dirt carriage roads.

If you miss the festival you can still pick some huckleberries {now, not so much later} on the Minnewaska trails and elsewhere, though you might have to find a friendly local to share her berry spot.

Huckleberries are challenging to find commercially and expensive when you do find there because you're most often paying for a forager to traipse after them. Hunkleberries are smaller than blueberries and give a more complex flavor, though there are plenty of other differences too.

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