Home How-To How to Build a Better Berry Basket (or Bucket)

How to Build a Better Berry Basket (or Bucket)

How to Build a Better Berry Basket (or Bucket)

berry back porch still life

A bountiful morning when you have the right tools.

Berry (and cherry) picking is serious business; you pick, eat a few, then try to get them in the bucket or basket without spilling your handful from a high altitude. And then there’s the bending down to fill the bucket part. (Bad backs need not apply.) There’s got to be a better way!

homemade berry or cherry picking baskethomemade berry picking basket

The tallclover prototype during its testing phase: lightweight and no rope burns.

I took my design inspiration for a better berry-pickin’ bucket from the clever folks at Bybee-Nims Farms at the base of Mt. Si near North Bend, WA. Their berry bucket: a clothesline cut to four feet, ends threaded through two opposite holes in an open coffee can and then knotted, basically a bucket pendant necklace.


ingenious berry basket


The prototype: cheap, comfortable and with several applications.

I adapted the idea, using a light weight plastic storage container and a soft twist tie (foam-covered, wire-core) for the rope.  My extensive testing proves the design reliable and my capacity to eat fresh berries without match.  It’s an especially handy when you’re on a ladder. But why limit it to a berry/cherry picking bucket, what about as:


  • a cereal bowl for your morning commute or late night snacking
  • a place to store your reading glasses
  • a new-fangled air sickness bag
  •  a popcorn holder when at the theater

Ah the list goes on, but for now I have a date with some overripe raspberries. Ladies, gentlemen, don your buckets.


  1. Tom my dearest, that is you in the Seattle Footwear????? Have you been limiting your appetite to the healthy bounty? Always the mysterious photos of just a part of the whole. Your writings brought me back to the moment you stepped out of your car at my wedding…my heart jumped with love, the berry basket just might have come in handy!! Miss you xo

  2. I was delighted this year when our son suggested a “joint” garden on his property. It’s been years but was eager once again to get my hands dirty. Everything looked great until the tomatoes and green beans started to wilt. Being a distance from water, our son had a barrel with which we could carry water. Unfortunately it didn’t seem to help, even after a rain wilting persisted. Then we heard from friends about walnuts affecting tomato plants. Our healthy tomatoe plants now are loaded with tomatoes that appear to be stunted and the plan is dieing. My guess is that has been the problem with the green and yellow beans. Wanting to avoid the issue next year, how far away should the garden be from the tree??? I planted limited vegetables this year and want to expand the selection next year, what vegetables will be affected by the walnut tree?? Any suggestions/help you can give would be greatly appreciated.

  3. Hi Nancy, sounds like the dreaded walnut wilt which is prone to areas around black walnuts trees more so than the English type (the nuts found in oatmeal cookies). At my last house in Seattle, I had a black walnut tree on my property. Some things would do okay under the tree and other plants had nothing to do with my poor site choice and suffered because of it.

    Apparently the roots, leaves and husks in the black walnut release a chemical called juglone that affects growth on certain plants. Ohio State University Extension has a good fact sheet on it: http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/1000/1148.html
    and this is a good read from Maryland: http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/1000/1148.html

    And as if that’s not enough, you may have Fusarium Wilt (related link http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/r783101011.html ) or Verticillium Wilt (related link, http://www.treesforyou.org/Planting/TreeCare/Healthy/blk-nuts.htm

    The links share some resistant tomato varieties and I rotate crops religiously and never plant tomatoes in the same place or where potatoes once were. I also try not to water the leaves of the tomato vines. Good luck and good gardening!

  4. So the only thing that would make it better (IMHO) is to maybe drill small holes in the bottom, so you could wash your harvest in the same container. I’m online now looking for such a thing which is how I came across your site. ;o) I’m still searching… probably will end up making something too, just have soooo much else to do! ;o) Good thinking though! Necessity is the mother of invention. ;o)

  5. Hi Tom

    I found your website by accident and I am glad I did. Your recipes and articles are great and I am about to try your method of ripening peaches.

    On another note, I am taking liberty with a 30-year memory and the fact that you are Tom from Seattle and do look somewhat familiar. I do realize that there are probably a few (if not thousands) of Toms from Seattle. I am from BC and I knew a Tom that was a friend of a friend who was a roommate in Vancouver for a while. So – do you know Dale Kirkpatrick? If the answer is yes – then isn’t this interesting. If it is no – then I am still glad I found your website and of course I have it bookmarked.

    Preserve the Bountiful

    Pamela Ainge


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