In a post the other day, we got to discussing blueberries, blaeberries, huckleberries, etc. I decided to go straight to a source. Who is really and truely a “Source”. She and her sweet husband own and manage a nursery/greenhouse and gift shop in the Finger Lakes area of New York. That translates into hard work and long hours! Their youngest son helps them out along with a couple of other employees.
Our Source is known as Heartfelt and I met her in the North and South fandom a couple of years ago. We hit it off immediately besides the obvious interest in Elizbeth Gaskell’s novel, North and South and the resulting TV movie, as we had lots in common: same age, 3 sons, grandchildren. And she and husband ended up flying out to spend a few days with us back in February! In case you’re wondering, we did NOT watch North and South (again) but we did talk it. Boy, did we talk it!!
Anyway, Heartfelt and hubs also have a 300 plant blueberry orchard/patch between their home and her brother-in-law’s home that they cooperatively planted about 10 years ago. She said they don’t water them but do fertilize faithfully. I’m assuming their soil is high in acid. We have to add that here. Note: my success as a blueberry farmer has thus far been a complete and utter failure. A guy in town says he has no problems raising them so I’m suspecting he’s keeping his berry-growing secrets to himself.
I introduce you to our guest blogger and my friend, Heartfelt. Take it away…
My main experience with Blue Berries is eating them freshly picked from the blueberry patch my family shares with my sister’s family. Since Blueberry pancakes are the only items I have actually cooked using these delicious berries, I cannot expound on my favorite baking recipes. I’m sure Queenie will do the honors for me, clever woman that she is!
I love to eat blueberries year round; and yes, I splurge and buy them in the winter–imports from South America! The summer time brings joy, but also hard work after our long upstate NY winters. I say ‘hard work’, because my family owns a nursery/landscaping business and my primary job is keeping our trees, shrubbery, perennials, herbs, veggie plants and annual flowers looking healthy and saleable, which means hours in the sun wrestling with water hoses! We regularly sell Blueberry bushes, informing our customers that they need two different varieties of blueberry to cross-pollinate and guarantee fruit. When the bushes arrive in April they have been already pollinated and are loaded with ‘bell-like’ flowers, the promise of the crop to come.
One of the joys of summer, however, is heading out to the blueberry patch early in the morning to pick about four quarts of berries, upon which I will feast for days. Since we have almost 300 Blueberry bushes, it only takes 15-20 minutes to fill a gallon jug! There is something magical about walking in the wet grass, listening to the chirping birds in the cool of the morning and resting in the beauty of the creation. God is good! My sister and I invite friends and family to come and pick in our patch. It is our pleasure to share that with which we have been blessed.
I did a little research about the history of blueberries. It seems they did not travel here to America with the early settlers, but already existed and were used by the Native Americans as fruit and as a dried additive: to cornmeal, forming a ‘pudding’ of sorts; and to meat, as seasoning. The plant had other purposes, too: as provision of the ‘Great Spirit’ during famine; as a relaxant during childbirth; as a cough syrup; and as tea for purifying the blood.
As a contemporary woman, I can’t claim to understand the full potential of this amazing fruit. I just love the way they taste in yogurt, in cereal and in pancakes. Fortunately, the berries provide their unique benefits whether I’m aware of them or not, and for that I am truly grateful. That’s the extent of my experience with the blueberry, but in gratitudefor this invitation from Queenie to speak about them, I’ve compose a ditty in their honor!
From silver bells awash in dew,
Their morning anthems tinkling,
Emerge in green, then violet hue,
Blue orbs, at sunrise twinkling.
And she in night gown, half asleep,
Traverses meadows, merry,
For in the distance she doth peep,
Oh joy! Tis the Blue Berry!
Returning, she no detour takes,
Moving swiftly as a fairy,
And in a pan, a cake she makes,
Adding ‘1 cup /fresh Blue Berry’!
(Sorry! That’s the extent of my recipes!)