Even with eyes closed you can tell which blackberries are ripe. They are warmer in the August sun and softer. The dark fruit yields to fingers, dropping into hands. You cannot force a blackberry. When it is ready it will fall gracefully, gently separating from the stem, the aggregate drupeletts fragile and extravagant in the humidity.
And then there will be Blackberry Buckle.
Beat together 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup sugar until "fluffy" then add one egg. Beat until smooth. You can use an electric mixer, but if you use a hand whisk you will burn more calories and can justify having a second piece of buckle once it has baked.
Add 1/3 cup (organic skim) milk and 1 tsp vanilla, the real stuff, with a bean in it, so strong the scent fills the room as soon as you open the bottle. And stir in 1 cup unbleached flour, 1 1/2 tsp.baking powder, and a pinch of salt. Electric mixers should be at low speeds now, and those of us with whisking forks will make that adjustment naturally, slowing as the batter gets thick.
Fold 2 1/2 cups of deep purple fresh organic blackberries, still warm from the sun and coated with a little granulated sugar so they stay firm, into the batter. It will look like there are too many for the batter, but it will be just right. Pour into a greased and floured baking dish. Top with dots of butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon-sugar if desired, and bake.
In a 375 degree oven Blackberry Buckle will require about 35 or 40 minutes. When it is ready it will look like it could serve 6-8, but you find you can only make it stretch to four people. And with whipped cream on top Blackberry Buckle is so good, you might think you only made enough for two.