When to Harvest Thinleaf Huckleberry


The simple joy and the experience of walking through fields, woods and over mountains looking for thinleaf huckleberries far outweigh the ease of buying them on the roadside or at farmers' markets. Also known as the mountain huckleberry and the square-twig blueberry, the thinleaf huckleberry grows in the northwestern portions of North America. Knowing what to look for and when to harvest thinleaf huckleberry are keys to a successful harvest when the time is right.

Step 1

Take walks throughout different areas to make note of the locations of huckleberry bushes. From April to June, the thinleaf huckleberry has yellowish-pink flowers. The springtime is also good for collecting leaves for huckleberry teas.

Step 2

Check back as early then midsummer arrive and look for small green berries growing on the bushes. If there had been a fire the year before, chances are you will not see any berries the first year after a burn.

Step 3

Look in late summer, week after week, for the green berries to turn into purple or purplish-red berries about half an inch wide. Pick the berries only if they release easily from the bush. Ripe berries should be firm, but not hard.

Step 4

Make a fairly good amount of noise, talking or singing, but stay alert while you harvest so you don't unknowingly sneak up on any black or grizzly bears, which also enjoy the sweetness of huckleberries.

Tips and Warnings

  • Be sure to use a container with a lid for harvesting. Often huckleberries will grow on slopes and mountainsides, making dropping your fresh picked berries a sad sight if you don't have a way to keep them from rolling away.

Things You'll Need

  • Bucket or basket with a lid


  • A Social History of Wild Huckleberry Harvesting in the Pacific Northwest; Rebecca T. Richards and Susan J. Alexander; 2006
  • Native Plant Database
Keywords: thinleaf huckleberry, huckleberry, when to harvest huckleberry

About this Author

Writing from Virginia, Margaret Telsch-Williams specializes in personal finance, money management, gardening, crafts and sewing, cooking, DIY projects and travel. When not writing instructional articles online, she works for the website Widescreen Warrior as a contributor and podcast co-host discussing all things film and entertainment. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology and a master's degree in writing.