Lee Ann Moore and Don Duclo, Oceanside Jams

If you have ever wanted to truly experience the terroir of Humboldt County — the flavors that have been enjoyed since the beginning of time by the Wiyot, Hupa, Yurok, Karuk, and others, many of those flavors have been put into a jar by local maven of all things local and canned, Lee Ann Moore.  I’m not just talking about the ubiquitous Himalaya blackberry, the upclass huckleberry (both the common black and the caviar of the jam world — red huckleberry), but I’m talking about the truly obscure and delicious.  I’m talking thimbleberries, a fragile berry that produces a handful at a time throughout the season so you have to return again and again to pick, I’m talking about salal which many people have only seem in flower arrangements, and more.

Lee Ann’s father Don joins her on berry picking excursions in which they pick gallons of berries, but also dozens of the ever present and annoying ticks…reason enough to just let Lee Ann and her father do the picking and canning for us!  (I squirm in my chair as I write this)…

Don’t bother asking where the berry picking patches are — they are well-kept secrets despite my many attempts to trip them up and get a bead on the locations.  Lee Ann just laughs each time I try!

Listen to part 1

Listen to part 2

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Thimbleberry Farms, Bill and Willie Welton

You-pick farms have been around forever — I have pleasant memories of picking ripe apricots (that’s something you haven’t eaten lately I’ll bet) right off the tree in Brentwood CA — Brentwood is now covered with houses and the You Pick places are few and far between.  Well if you want to relive one of your favorite activities from your childhood, hopefully with children in tow — look no further than Thimbleberry Farms in Fortuna.  Bill and Willie Welton have welcomed several generations to their 6 acres of berries, apples, pears, cherries, figs and more.  Willie kindly gave me a bag of loganberries and my neighbor is now hooked on the jam…so you know the deal — he has to go pick next year and I’ll make him the jam.  Bill took Jessica Eden and I through the orchard and we munched crisp mouthwatering apples as he told us about the varieties, and Bill loaded me down with enough apples to make 2 years worth of apple butter and enough to share for holiday gifts.  Keep your eye on Craig’s List, that’s how Willie lets everyone know when this year’s bounty is ripe!

listen to the interview