It's rare that you'll hear me touting the virtues of invasive plants. Very rare. But during this time of year, I'm willing to make one exception. In late June or early July, the wineberries (Rubus phoenicolasius) are out in full force, and if you can find them when they're ripe, they're an exquisite, locally-grown, organic (most likely) treat.
Whether popping them in your mouth by the handful, or putting them on top of an ice cream sundae, these deep red berries are sweet relief in the dog days of summer. As a rule, the darker the berries, the riper (and sweeter) they are.
Wineberry bushes are often found at the edge of disturbed forests, or along road edges where they haven't been completely shaded out. A visit to one of our local parks late last week confirmed that now is the time to go out and start harvesting if you're a fan of these juicy treats.
Eating the berries yourself has the added environmental benefit of keeping those seed-laden morsels from wildlife who have helped to spread the invasive plant far and wide through their droppings.
Disclaimer: Before you eat any wild fruits or berries, please make sure that you have properly identified them. It is possible to get sick (or worse) from eating poisonous plant parts.