Huckleberry Finn, Huckleberry Hound, Huckleberry Pie (Strawberry Shortcake’s best friend)…. I am wondering if, even though these broadly known characters are all named for the same fruit, do most people really know about the Huckleberry? Really it is a fruit…and for those of you who do not live in the Northwest US or western Canada, I suspect you might not know that it is one of the best tasting fruits in existence. But I have never seen a Huckleberry in the grocery? I wonder why? Have you?
My family lived in Pendleton, Oregon briefly when I was in preschool…all I really remember is playing on my swing set (you know the metal triangle type that would go over you if you swung to high) and picking huckleberries. So when Hilary responded to our book giveaway saying that her favorite native was the Huckleberry, I immediately decided it would be my native pick for Oregon.
Huckleberries comprise a few varieties of vaccinium, and some people call what I would refer to as a blueberry a huckleberry, but to me the real huckleberries are the dark black-red varieties that grow wild on lower Pacific Northwest slopes.
To me, they are a charming symbol of the region. I love too, all the phrases that use the word huckleberry to refer affectionately to something small…Like “a huckleberry over my persimmon” meaning something is a bit beyond your abilities or my all time favorite (from one of my fav. movies) -Tombstone – Val Kilmer saying “I’m your huckleberry” – meaning I’m the right person for the job. I love that line!
The more I think about it, I am glad I don’t see them in the grocery. It’s a good reason visit.
p.s. did you also know that The Huckleberry Railroad was a heritage train located in Flint, Michigan (there are also lots of huckleberries around the great lakes). It ran so slowly that it was said a person could jump off the train, pick huckleberries and jump back on the train with minimum effort.