Thursday, July 23, 2009


The freezer is filling up with 30 pounds so far of freshly picked organic blueberries, thanks to help from my in-laws.

We picked these berries in two one-hour stints. Amma would go back again and again; we'll see how the weather goes, although more rain is in the forecast.

Just a short 5 minutes from our house sits Inkwell Farm with about an acre of self-serve pick-your-own blueberries.

Although a bit delayed this year due to the weather, the crop is now lush and sweet. At least berries are producing, since many other crops (such as tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants) are really struggling.

Although we are in New England, this summer reminds me of Mark Twain's (or someone's) quip, "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." This is one weird summer.

The Inkwell owners supply gallon milk jugs with the top cut off so you can carry the empty carton to the bushes and back to the small gazebo to weigh and pay, slipping your cash or check into the slot in the wooden box. The mosquitoes are thick around the feet as you stir up the grass while moving about the bushes. The free-range chickens and guinea hens come around to stab the berries that drop to the ground. I'd prefer they stab the mosquitoes.

Inkwell Farm is for sale, at a fairly steep price. A price that is unaffordable for new, young farmers. This is an unfortunate reality, when young folks can't start a farm and provide local food for others. I only hope that whoever buys this property keeps the organic blueberry bushes going so we can go back and back and back.


  1. Hi Ellen,

    Yes it was Mark Twain, and he was right. Cold and damp all the time in SF in the summer, except for a break every 5-7 days where it might get sunny for a couple of days. I used to live in the normally sunny part of SF but go to work in the cold, foggy and damp section. So every day I went from summer to winter. Depressing to say the least.

    I was looking at our 10 day weather forecast yesterday and we have no predictions in the 90s for the rest of July in Philadelphia. If I'm not mistaken we've had no 90 degree days in July, none in June, I don't think any in May, and a few in mid-90s in April. That is odd!

    I envy you having all those blueberries next door. But I don't envy you those mosquitoes. What's wrong with those chickens, not going after the mosquitoes? My wife does most of the blueberry picking from our 3-4 small bushes. And even though there isn't much grass or other low-growing foliage around she still manages to come back with a few bites. I guess they just go together, blueberries and mosquitoes.

  2. Hi Ken,

    The blueberries (and mosquitoes) are about the only things that are making this feel like summer. I only hope August is sunny or warm. We need one or the other for the vegetables to bare fruit. My farmer friends at New Roots Farm are struggling for a second year in a row with too much rain and this year with cool temps and late blight. Their eggplants and peppers are already a month behind. Organic tomatoes and potatoes are selling at $4 per pound.

    Time for some coffee and blueberry cake!