After spending the day outside watching the Sitka herring fleet, my daughter sent me this image from Sitka, Alaska. She told me how warm the weather was, that bees were flying around, and the salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis) blossoms were in full bloom. First on LEO, we saw early blooms on Kodiak Island, then in Juneau, and now in Sitka. This is significant because it marks possible changes in timing of subsistence foods. If this is happening so soon, could it represent early berries, more berries, or damaged bushes if it is to freeze? Not only do locals enjoy these berries, but so do the bears. Posted by Mary Mullan for Brianna Wise
Comments from LEO Editors:
"The warm weather in parts of Southeast Alaska has brought out the pollinators, and in full blossom are the salmonberry bushes," says Brianna. We reviewed past LEO Network observations from about N56° to N60° latitudes, and stretching from Baranof Island in Southeast Alaska on over to the east coast of the Bering Sea near Nunivak Island. Based on the posts in our archive, it appears that the berry bushes are sprouting earlier and earlier.
The earliest LEO Network post for a bloom of Rubus spectabilis was recorded on Spruce Island in Ouzinkie on February 29 of 2016. The next was on the 6th of March, 2016 in Juneau. One observation was provided in April 6, 2015, from Sitka and another from May 27, 2014, in Toksook Bay. Within those four latitudinal degrees, the time at which the Rubus spectabilis began blooming appears to be earlier than usual. Moses Tcheripanoff
Video: View this short-video produced in the Metlakatla Indian Community of Alaska titled, Berry Fruit Leather:: METLAKATLA :: Store Outside Your Door. In this short 6:22 minute video, Metlakatla's Naomi Leask teaches us how to make fruit leather out of local berries! This Southeast Alaska community has a berry bounty each year. You can try this recipe with local berries from your area. Berries are rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants (great for heart and brain health). The video was published on September 8, 2015 by The Store Outside Your Door project, an ANTHC Wellness and Prevention initiative to promote the knowledge and use of traditional foods and traditional ways.