I thought about Ojai yesterday. My husband and boys were playing on the beach of a beautiful lake and I was in the forest, picking huckleberries. There I was, sitting in the midst of a patch of huckleberry bushes. They were everywhere. I ran out of time before I ran out of berries. By the time I came out, my fingers were stained purple. If you've ever been to the northwestern US, you probably know what huckleberries are. Here in Montana they're huge, especially in the tourist industry. You can't go into any store without finding a display of huckleberry items. I was talking to an Australian once and she didn't know huckleberries were real. She thought it was just a name, such as Huckleberry Finn or Huckleberry Hound. They're real alright and they're absolutely delicious. There is a catch to huckleberries -- you won't find them in stores here. You can find them at roadside stands, but be prepared to pay a lot for a small amount. The only way to get huckleberries is to pick them by hand, as they can't be grown commerically. The other catch is that huckleberries are a favorite food of bears, so you have to stay on your guard. So there I sat, wearing just my bathing suit and water shoes, in the middle of a huckleberry patch. Not something I ever did in Ojai, that's for sure. And I tell you, the smell of the berries was pure heaven.
Check out the Huckleberry Patch for more about huckleberries. If you want to treat yourself or someone to something really special, order the huckleberry jam, taffy, fudge or coffee. No matter what you pick, it's all great. No wonder those bears love huckleberries so much!