For the past few weeks, Rich and I have enjoyed one of my favorite, Pacific Northwest desserts… fresh picked blackberries with vanilla ice cream.

For those not familiar with the the flora of Oregon and Washington, blackberry bushes (or more appropriately, vines) will grow wild anywhere there’s a spot of sunshine and soil fertile enough to support a handful of seeds — often deposited in bird or animal poop.

Thorny, persistent and seemingly indestructible, blackberries are often the bane of gardeners and will grow six or more feet in height and swallow swaths of land if not kept under control. Many years ago, my dear friend in Oregon, ended up with a yard full of blackberry bushes. We tackled them one afternoon, cutting and slowly removing them. After 10-15 feet of bushes had been cleared, we came across her son’s sandbox, which she hadn’t seen for years.

My first picking this year was in Anacortes. I wandered down the hill from our lot and quickly filled a bowl, picking the berries that grew along the street.

Last week, I picked another bunch in Mount Vernon. Once again, I only had to walk a few paces before I came to a bush, full with plump berries.

Because blackberries are so plentiful in Oregon and Washington, most people don’t bother to pick them, preferring strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, which are readily available at local farms (or in their own backyards). Rich and I have five blueberry bushes in pots and a raspberry bush in the ground.

Being Rich and I have been deprived of blackberries for five years, we’re eager to pick ’em, plop them in sugar then spoon them over rich vanilla ice cream. Heavenly!