Until the last couple of years, I never actually realized that huckleberry was a real berry or fruit. I thought it was some fictitious fruit that Mark Twain named his famous Huckleberry Finn character after, and that the huckleberry pie I always read about in children’s stories when I was young was just a fake and delicious dessert meant to tempt me to crave a new sweet. I tried researching to see if they could be found in New York, and unfortunately, no sources could help me.
So I was excited to learn that huckleberry is indigenous to the general Pacific Northwest and mountains of Idaho and Montana, and huckleberry is actually the state fruit of Idaho. It cannot be cultivated and grows only in the wild, so they are a local fruit to this area, and an expensive one at that given that you won’t find a huckleberry farm anytime soon here or anywhere. The stereotype is true: bears who roam the forests in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming stuff their mouths with these berries when they encounter them. It’s comical that there are some truths to childhood fairy tales.
They are difficult to find fresh unless you literally pick them during hikes, but so far, we’ve seen so many signs for huckleberry pie and huckleberry milkshakes. I can’t wait to finally try this fruit from children stories in real life right here in Montana where it’s native.