The berry I miss

My First spring in the US Daniel and I started to plant our gardens. We bought an apple tree, blueberry bushes. And Daniel had already planted blackberry bushes. I  was really excited about that. I have never in my life eaten blackberries, as well as blueberries growing on the bush. 

Time flies. After a few years, I got spoiled by having those plants. And started to miss a very  common, popular in Russia, and easy growing black currant. I missed the taste and very special smell of those berries and leaves. 

Just to let you know, 
Currants are woody perennial shrubs. Berries are small (if not cultivated), quite often tart, grow in clusters. There are red, white and black currants. The black currant is native to northern Europe and Asia. It  was cultivated in Russia by the 11th century. Back then it was popular in monastery gardens, as well as in towns and cities.  

So, I started looking for this bush at the Green Houses.   I couldn’t find one. Then Daniel suggested checking on online garden websites. I found blackcurrants online, made an order. But at the very end, I received a notification that my order couldn’t be shipped. I was very confused and checked a different online store. The result was the same. 

I decided to figure out what’s going on. It turned out that blackcurrants are prohibited in MA. Who would have thought it?

The story is 
Blackcurrants cultivation in the US was restricted in  1911. The reason was that blackcurrants (along with other Ribes species) spread a blister fungus that killed white pine trees. The fungus used blackcurrants to spread  from pine to pine. The federal government took aggressive action and financed a program to eradicate Ribes plants.

To say that I was upset is to say nothing. But my life was and is very busy. I just moved on to my next project whatever it was. However, I do not lose hope of getting currants at least to my kitchen. 

Once I bought blackcurrant jam in the Russian store in Boston. Tell you the truth, I would do a much better job. But I ate it all.

The other time I purchased loose leaf tea with blackcurrant taste. It’s in general not bad at all. It seems to me that they used currant bark not leaves to add the flavor. The tea with leaves would have a softer taste. 

Recently I’ve learned that 

In 2003,  Greg Quinn, a children book author, successfully lobbied to have the blackcurrants ban overturned in New York state.  Lucky NY population!

Even though it’s now believed that the plants can grow normally under proper care, they are still prohibited in Massachusetts. 

One more fact in defense of blackcurrant is
 A blister fungus can spread through air to the distance of about 900 feet. It’s also highly resistant to the environment. So it can survive through almost any natural challenge. 

I can only hope that one day I will learn how to order frozen berries and will make my own jam or jelly. 

What is your favorite berry, jam or jelly? Can you grow that berry here in New Bedford?

I used materials from

https://news.cornell.edu/stories/2006/07/welcome-back-black-currants-forbidden-fruit-making-ny-comeback

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackcurrant


Author: Elena

Hi, My name is Elena. I am Russian living in the US. My blog is about my life and experience. This is my new hobby. So, please, don't be too hard on me. Thanks

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