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Berry Hunting


Blacksheep
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Spring Rain hummed softly to herself as she trotted through the shop checking in on the growing plants. Most of them were doing well. There were a couple in the back that looked like they needed a bit more sun. Or perhaps they simply weren't doing as well in the heat? She carefully checked over their neighbors. "<b>Hm, most of you seem to be doing well,</b>" she mused. It seemed that it was just those two in particular who weren't doing so well. Perhaps a rotation would help?

 

Spring lifted the pots up and shifted them around until the two plants in need were set near the front of the shelf so she could tend them better. Hopefully it would only take a day or two for them to fully perk up again. It was so much better to take care of a plant before it got bad. She always felt terrible when she saw a plant struggling. Yes some of them could be fussy, but others were so tenacious, and it was a shame when they drooped.

 

Satisfied that they were looked after for now Spring Rain started gently humming as she sat down and gazed lovingly at her plants. It was a silly little habit, maybe, but the plants enjoyed it and so did she. It made everything feel so much better in the shop to have a soft tune in the air.

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Strawberry Jam
Strawberry Jam

Strawberry Jam trotted down the streets of Ponyville, her head turning quickly from side to side as she surveyed each of the buildings she passed. She was looking for something specific, a shop she hadn't visited in a while. Sure, the other times she visited she may have stayed a few hours longer than intended, and might have talked about the different ways to make blackberry jam to the point of the owner having to come and insist she leave and not return unless she planned on actually buying something...

 

But today was different! Strawberry may not have the intention to make a purchase, again, but she needed help finding a particularly elusive fruit. The last time she tried on her own it nearly ended in a disaster, and she didn't even manage to bring back the plant in one piece. It turns out just taking it from the forest didn't work as well as she'd hoped, and she couldn't find any info in any of the books she read since then. Today, she was going to ask if any of the nice ponies that worked the shop knew anything about it, if anypony knew it would surely be them!

 

Finally, she found the shop she was looking for. Taking a few steps up to it, she stopped in front of the door. If the owner was in she'd get an earful for coming back without buying anything for sure. Taking a peek through the front window, she looked around for any signs of the pony in question. Thankfully, it seemed today the shop was being run by a pony she didn't recognize, and if her luck was good, somepony who didn't recognize her. Putting on her best smile, she burst through the front door, "Hi! I'm not here to talk about Jam today!"

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Spring Rain

 

Spring startled as someone burst through the door. She leaped to her feet and spun around bumping into a shelf. Right in the entrance to the shop was an extremely pink pony. Not as pink as Pinkie Pie, few ponies could manage that level of pinkness, but still very pink. She blinked in bafflement at the sentence that greeted her ears flicking back and forth. "Um, that's good to know," she said. Why would someone come here to talk about jam? Unless they wanted to talk about the different things that could be put in jam. There was a rather large variety of berries, fruit, and even herbs that could be added to jam to make it extra special. "What are you here for? Are you starting a garden? Do you want fresh herbs for cooking?"

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Strawberry Jam

Judging from the pony's reaction she was in luck after all. Strawberry continued to smile as she made her way completely into the shop, letting the door close behind her. "Oh! Do you have any Platostoma palustre by chance? I've been having the darndest time getting a hold of my own to grow, ever since I tried that dish with grass jelly I've been-" She stopped herself, didn't want to get caught up in this conversation again. Taking a deep breath, she continued, "I was actually hoping to get a bit of advice about migrating a specific kind of rare plant to a more controllable habitat. I haven't seen you around here before so I figured I'd see if you knew anything about it." She took a few steps closer to Spring, extending her hoof as her energetic demeanor returned. "I'm Strawberry Jam, by the way. It's nice to meet you!"

 

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Spring Rain

 

She was here looking for a plant, apparently. Spring Rain moved to start looking for the mint. It was a greedy water sucker, but as with all the mint family a delight to use in cooking. She paused as the pony cut herself off and completely changed the subject. Spring smiled in amusement. It seemed she wasn't the only one who could get distracted by all the things that could be done. She reached out her own hoof to shake Strawberry's. "Spring Rain, happy to meet you. You're trying to take a picking of a wild plant?" That could be surprisingly difficult. Transport of a plant was always a little difficult, but often ponies who dug up wild plants didn't know what they were doing and would accidentally severe roots, or the plant would dry out, or not have a suitable place prepared for the plant when they brought it home and they would treat it as a normal house plant, causing it to die. Sometimes they even assumed that as a wild plant it could grow just about anywhere and would just plop it into the ground expecting success. "What can you tell me about your plant?"

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Strawberry Jam

Thank goodness she made up her mind to stop by this shop after all. “It’s a small plant, it typically has dark purple flowers before the fruits grow. The fruit itself is what I’m most interested in, they’re called Moon Berries.” Strawberry started walking around the shop, looking at the various plants as she continued. “When the berries are at their ripest, they’re said to glow like the moon.” When she first discovered the patch of berries in the forest, she thought for sure her eyes were playing tricks on her. It was a breathtaking sight, and even if she couldn’t find a way to cultivate them herself she’d be happy just to go take a look at them again.

 

I’ve never actually gotten to taste them yet, though I’ve heard tales of their flavors.” She began pacing back and forth, “Problem is, they only last a few minutes after being picked. If they’re not prepared immediately, they end up with an incredibly bitter taste.” She made a fake gagging noise to emphasize her point. Just talking about it brought back the memories of her first batch of jam from overripe moon berries, the taste didn’t leave her mouth for weeks. She still regrets not just eating one on the spot, she just had to try to bring them all the way back to cook.

 

I can’t very well move my kitchen to the Everfree Forest, and I’ve never seen or heard of any other place that can grow them. I was hoping you’d know a bit more about it, or at least know how to grow them closer to Ponyville.” Strawberry stopped pacing and finally turned back to Spring, hoping for a positive response.

 

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Spring Rain listened intently to the description of the plant. Moon berries? Oh, she knew that one! It was a bit tricky. The plant absorbed moonlight instead of sunlight, and as the moon tended to cycle it tended to be more tricky to make sure it got enough light. The bush preferred more shaded areas as well, adding to that difficulty. If the clipping had been planted in full sunlight the poor thing would have rapidly whithered away entirely.

 

"That's a tricky one," Spring said cheerfully. She would have to do a bit of research before she was able to make sure any clipping would survive. She knew about the plant, but it wasn't one she'd worked with before. "I know a bit about its needs. It prefers being shaded during the day, and exposure to moonlight. Not the easiest conditions to give for a plant. If you could show me where you found some, I could try to figure out how to transfer it so you can set it up in your home."

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