blackberry winter n chiefly Sth, S Midl Also called blackberry summer n, blackberry weather n Cf blackberry rain n, blackberry storm n, blackbird storm n, bloom winter n, dogwood winter n, fox-grape winter n
A cold spell, usu in spring or early summer and associated with the flowering of wild blackberry bushes, but occas later in the year and perh associated with the ripening of blackberries.
1883 New Albany Ledger (IN) 28 May 1/8, Blackberry winter is what Uncle Joe Richardson calls it. He says it is a sure sign of a big crop, and always comes while the blackberries are in blossom. 1895 Weekly NV State Jrl. (Reno) 25 May /7 (newspaperarchive.com), The proverbial blackberry winter in May came with a vim and if there is anything in it blackberries will certainly by plentiful. 1904 (1913) Johnson Highways South 162 cKY, Then, later, when the blackberries are in blossom, we have another cold spell what we call the blackberry winter. 1906 DN 3.127 nwAR, Cold blackberry winter, good blackberry crop. 1918 DN 5.18 NC, Blackberry-winter, cold weather in spring when blackberries are in bloom. 1932 AmSp 7.233 MO, In Missouri we have blackberry winter, referring . . to a belated spell of winter weather at the time that wild blackberries are in bloom. 1933 AmSp 8.1.47 Ozarks. 1949 Hornsby Lonesome Valley 53 KY, March stayed well on into April. . . The weather turned cold. Uncle Lihugh said it was blackberry winter, but Aunt Rhody argued that it was dogwood winter. 1950 PADS 14.14 nw, cnSC, Blackberry winter: . . a spell of cold weather late in the spring. Seneca, Union County. 1954 Harder Coll. cwTN. c1960 Wilson Coll. csKY. 1960 Williams Walk Egypt 202 GA, It crept along during the fall and winter and next spring, a blackberry winter with the air so clear that she could hear from a mile away. 1966 DARE FW Addit neGA, sIL, cnMS, TN, swVA, Blackberry winter. 1970 DARE (QR p12) Inf VA44, Blackberry winter. 1973 Thomasville Times–Enterprise (GA) 30 Apr 4/5, This little cool snap we have just experienced . . must be, it seems to me, about the third “blackberry winter” we have had already in this, the most perverse spring weather I think I ever remember in Thomasville. 1990 Telegraph (Alton IL) 6 July sec A 6/3, [Letter:] During the recent “blackberry winter” my wife and I were driving east through Grafton. Blackberry winter occurs each year in June. It never fails. 2000 Kingsolver Prodigal Summer 260 sAppalachians, “It’s not that cold out. It’s July.” . . Eddie seemed to have trouble believing in the summertime cold up here, what people called blackberry winter. 2007 Lubbock Avalanche–Jrl. (TX) 16 Mar (Internet), A few mornings ago, Houston awoke to a colder-than-usual day. . . I told my co-workers it was blackberry winter – as opposed to Indian summer, which comes in the fall. . . I’m sure I heard this term as a kid playing with my country cousins in Alabama. My co-workers say I’m nuts.