Why the Juiciest Blackberries are the Hardest to Pick: Musings on Life and our Disconnected Food System

Yesterday as my husband was fishing and I was foraging for blackberries along the Ovens river, I began ironically thinking about why the ripest, juiciest blackberries are always the ones that you have to reach for; the ones that you have to wrestle through thistles to get. Well that’s life.

Usually, it is the things that we work hardest for that are the most satisfying. The very effort of working hard at something makes it all the more special to us. Sometimes life has to scratch and scar us (physically and metaphorically) in order for us to learn a valuable lesson and come out stronger and more resilient.

This should also be true of our acquisition of food and yet we live in a disconnected system which is predicated on making food cheaper, easier and less seasonal. On the whole, people are less connected to their food (and therefore less resilient) than ever before. The Australian supermarket duopoly controls an enormous portion of the market share and pre packaged, processed ‘foods’ are becoming more and more popular as the population increasingly perceives itself as ‘time poor’.

Despite this, times are slowly changing (as they must) and the Fair Food movement is gaining ground amongst environmental and social justice circles.

Recently, my husband and I have been making a concerted effort to reconnect with our food on a physical level; to increase the amount of food that we grow, hunt, fish and forage. And it is one of the most satisfying things we have done. Yes, it is hard work, and sometimes (mostly) unsuccessful, but eating a meal that consists of a fish that took hours to catch and veggies that took months of tending to grow from seed is highly rewarding, nutritious and honestly tastes f*cking amazing.

I don’t really know where this post is going apart from an attempt to stress the need for people to get back to basics. To actually work for the things that sustain us rather than working in jobs to buy the things that sustain us from others (often made, farmed or grown unsustainably and unethically) as we have become accustomed to do.

Because is there really any satisfaction in something as simple and easy as driving to Coles or Woollies and buying some overly packaged food you have no connection to? Not for me!


Foraged Blackberries and Mint (Both invasive species but edible and abundant).


My Choc-Blackberry Muffins with Pansies from the Garden.


“While it is true that many people simply can’t afford to pay more for food, either in money or time or both, many more of us can. After all, just in the last decade or two we’ve somehow found the time in the day to spend several hours on the internet and the money in the budget not only to pay for broadband service, but to cover a second phone bill and a new monthly bill for television, formerly free. For the majority of Americans, spending more for better food is less a matter of ability than priority.”
― Michael Pollan







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