Saturday, July 16, 2011

Blueberry harvest

With our seven blueberry bushes no more than a foot high and barren, we've harvested blueberries from three different sources recently.

The first was a local farm which sprays their fruit but has a very cheap price per pound. It was a really pleasant experience. The berries are just becoming ripe, so I felt good about my picking, knowing it would spur on the other green ones on the cluster to ripen. The highbush varieties were at least 6 feet tall, and the rows between them were pleasantly wide and grassy. The berries were much smaller than the ones you buy in the grocery store, as expected.

Then we drove south to another local farm that produces organic fruit. At $6 per pound, I was happy I filled up at the cheaper farm. I didn't notice a difference in the berries or their bushes between the organic and non-organic farm. What I did notice is that the organic farm was weedier and not as pleasant to walk through, especially because there was poison ivy EVerywhere. Our friend's almost-2-year-old dumped her bucket of blueberries in the path and her mom started picking them up until I, with my poison-ivy-eye, told her to stand back and stop what she was doing. Oy.

And finally, we hit our dream spot: a wild blueberry grove tucked away behind a beautiful field of grasses and wild flowers in some nearby publicly-owned land. These highbushes were 7-9 feet tall, also in the early stages of ripeness, but gorgeous. The paths between them were overgrown with yarrow and cattails and virginia creeper, the breeze blowing through them ever so gently. There were also wild grapes using the highbush blueberries as natural trellises, green and hard and far from ripe. It was so peaceful to pick in silence with the birds.

So now we have a freezer-ful of blueberries, many pints of blueberry jam and some blueberry cakes and muffins coming soon.

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