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Zick on NPR-Raspberries

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

photo by Connie Toops

While sitting in a theater (gasp!) watching a much-touted movie about birding, I got a call from my editor at NPR. She was working on a piece I'd submitted to All Things Considered in July about growing raspberries, massaging it a bit so it wouldn't sound out of place in October, and she had a few questions. Mainly, "Can you harvest raspberries in October?" Having eaten a small, glorious handful just a few days prior, I gave an enthusiastic yes!

My dear friend and colleage, natural history writer and photographer Connie Toops, has a penchant for bringing me wonderful plants each year when she comes to speak and guide at the New River Birding and Nature Festival in Fayetteville, WV. She comes up out of the mountains of North Carolina with pots of fabulosity. And last spring she brought me four golden raspberry plants. I kept them in the pots until they were busting out, then set about digging them a soft fluffy garden bed in June. On one of the hottest days of the year. I worked out there, turning the soil, getting all the Virginia creeper and trumpetvine out of it, making a huge mound of manuery soil for their home, edging it with plastic so nobody could get in and they couldn't get out. Got myself a good case of heat exhaustion and had to leave a dinner party that night, practically incoherent, with a pounding head. But oh, were those plants ever worth it. We've had tantalizing hints of the bounty to come in three flushes, one, yes, in October. Never have I tasted a more delicious raspberry. They somehow pack a ridiculously intense raspberry flavor into each tiny bursting globule, belying their pallid color. Absolutely amazing. A gift of the finest kind.

So here's the piece. Give it a listen, and if you like it, hit Recommend, share it on Facebook, Twitter, or whatevah, and leave a comment if you please. Click HERE to listen and read.

Connie's got one of my heirloom lilacs growing down in North Carolina. File under: Sharing. Or What I Love About Gardening.


I love your plant exchange! I'll read your story! Thanks a heap!

Gosh! That title had me thinking that my little girl kingsnake had made the bigtime ... but I see it's only you.

Raspberries and cherries are two northern luxuries that just can't handle it down here, so I am imagining their luciousness.

I never met a raspberry I didn't love.


Wonderful article! I LOVE what your Dad said about waiting. We are all waiting. It was such a profound statement. The golden raspberries sound se delicious, and what a reward for all your hard work! What a lovely friend you have to send you such a gift!

I was on the road the other day when it aired; hearing your voice again was an unexpected treat, and I was thrilled to hear you mention Connie Toops, a wonderful human if ever there was one. Given my profession, it's funny how excited I get when I hear people I know on the radio.

Sometimes good things can take a while to grow and mature.
Don't believe me.
Go look in a mirror.

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