Audio Postcard: It's Huckleberry Season!

Aug 20, 2020

Mid-August to late September brings out a devoted breed of Pacific Northwesterner: the huckleberry hound. Among them is KLCC’s Brian Bull, who shares this audio postcard.

A nice bucket of huckleberries!
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

'Ta'c meeywi', it’s camitxt'al! 

That’s Nez Perce for “Good day (morning), it’s huckleberry season.”   Like many other tribes in the region, we gathered berries. Often they were dried in the sun, or smoked before being mashed into cakes.

A Nez Perce boy helps relatives pick huckleberries.
Credit Photo provided by Ryan Oatman / I Vision - Nez Perce Youth Project

A great philosopher once said, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.  Well, that’s kind of how I feel when I pluck the first huckleberry off a branch, and drop it in a bucket, like so…[PLONK]

The first huckleberry is plucked from its branch. Coloration of this tart fruit ranges from deep purple to a vibrant magenta.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

I know it’s a long journey between the first berry and a decently filled bucket, but the reward is in the journey, too. Being out in the woods gives me solitude and time in the outdoors, which brings back fond memories.

Grandma Bull made amazing huckleberry pies, while Grandpa Bull made the definitive Pacific Northwest breakfast: sourdough huckleberry pancakes.  Just incredible.

Folks like me put up with wasps, flies, mosquitoes, uneven terrain…I even had a relative meet a bear once while picking.  They lived to tell the tale.

This is the sound of a bucket almost completely covered across the bottom with huckleberries, rolling around...(ROLLING AMBI)

From branch to baking dish: huckleberries can be eaten straight or used in a variety of recipes, including pie. While many markets and companies sell huckleberries, the ones you pick yourself always taste a little sweeter, somehow.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

After a couple hours, I have a pretty modest take today…but I’ll be back, soon enough. In the meantime, guess I better look for grandpa’s sourdough starter recipe.

In the mountainous woods of Oregon, I’m Brian Bull, KLCC News.