Sunday, July 11, 2010

Blueberries

Almost an inch of rain fell yesterday. The ground was very thirsty after weeks without rain and following days of 90+ degree heat. We were all parched. When I arrived at New Roots Farm on Wednesday at 8:00 am for my weekly volunteering, the temperature was already well over 70 degrees and the regular farm help had been gathering produce since 6 am to beat the heat. By then we'd had day after day of hot weather.

One tradition that we started about a month ago at New Roots Farm is that we take turns bringing a snack on Wednesdays. Each Wednesday we break at about 11:00 for rhubarb pie, blueberry scones, or last week Emily made blueberry crisp with vanilla ice cream. She had picked the organic blueberries at Inkwell Farm, just a few miles away. As this is my source for blueberries I took note that the crop was ready to be picked. So, after lunch , despite the heat, I headed over to Inkwell.

The owner was out picking among the rows and rows of blueberry bushes. She and the flock of guinea hens were the only ones stirring. Even the mosquitoes were absent. The blueberries were so think and so sweet that I picked five quarts in just over an hour.


I returned with a friend on Friday at mid-day, and again we were the only ones picking, along with the guinea hens and chickens that sometimes poke around your feet to gather up any that drop. This time I picked seven quarts. With the bushes so full it is hard to stop. Last year at this time my in-laws from India were visiting. Amma loved picking blueberries. She would be beside herself if she were here this week with so many berries to pick.

This morning I made blueberry crisp and blueberry scones. We eat them daily on our breakfast granola and on ice cream on hot days. Some berries from last year are still in the freezer -- Amma picked a lot! I've been making blueberry smoothies with frozen berries, a banana, a splash or two of orange juice, a bit of honey, and a 1/2 cup or so of yogurt. They say to eat lots of blueberries to maintain your eyesight. I am doing my part to test that theory.

The blueberry harvest must be a week or two early; everything seems a few weeks early this year.  Farmers are pulling their garlic a week or more sooner than last year. Gray and red squirrels are already dropping small acorns onto the road -- in July. The heat and humidity makes it feel like August. Well, must be time for some blueberry crisp and ice cream. You can never have too much of that on a hot day.

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