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Summer Blueberry Picking in the Carolina Mountains
Summer's Blueberry Season in the Carolinas Means it's Time Enjoy the Outdoors
What’s not to love about picking plump, juicy blueberries in the mountains? Different varieties ripen in an assortment of hues, from almost black to a pretty cornflower blue and they are a delight to both people and wildlife.
Part of their goodness is that they are packed with more antioxidants than some other common fruits and they are filled with natural sweetness yet are a low glycemic index food. They are nothing short of awesome!
Early on the plant's flowers offer bees the chance to make marvelous honey, then the berries provide fresh summer food. The fruit is a beautiful subject for artwork and a good part of my kitchen décor is taken up with these wonderful berries.
Waiting on blueberry season is the hardest part of springtime. Summer has to come and do its work on the plants. Then they have to ripen to perfection. Anticipating them can be a distraction, but before we know it, we're in our old blue jeans and off picking mountain blueberries.
Looking forward to the foods we will enjoy them with is mouth-watering anticipation at its best. From fresh blueberry lemonade to salads, from syrups to the pancakes themselves, summer recipes are enhanced by this tiny fruit's bright taste.
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Unexpected Experiences while Picking Berries
Blueberry season is a busy and interesting time at our house. Blessed to live near an organic farm so we can take advantage of premium berries at their peak every July, we are serious about fresh blueberries.
We like to freeze as many as possible even as we consume them straight from the farm. One year, we had put up 82 cups, as well as having eaten and shared a good bit more, before I stopped counting. Having flexible schedules means that we can go out to the patch during their least busy times.
Being there when no one else is around is an intense contrast to the rest of life. A covey of quail let my husband see them one day last week, and we often hear turkey in the distance. Mornings we deal with small birds swooping our heads if we get too close to a nest and evenings are loud with in sync chirps and croaks.
Ripe blueberries in July bring extra special delights with their arrival. Reaching as high as tip toes will allow yields some of the juiciest fruit on the bushes. Experiences under the arching branches in the patch, however, can be more interesting than expected.
One sad day they may say enough is enough and decide it is time to close their doors to the public.
Blueberries for Any and Every Body--for Now, Anyway
We don’t always get the patch to ourselves. Sometimes being out there can provide insightful adventures with human nature. I’ve decided that every personality and character likes blueberries, but I can’t say I understand the thinking behind all of their behaviors.
Families with children provide food for thought. Some parents just let their little ones run wild, others teach their children to respect the farmer’s plants and crops, and to respect other people who are picking. They teach them how to pick ripe berries, and they spend time talking with them while they pick together.
One day we were alone except for two young men. Young enough to be talking about what they experienced in elementary school, but old enough to be interested in jobs with a future, they had been picking for some time and had stashes every few rows. When they returned to the area we were starting on we teased them about picking for us.
It was which of the two was the leader. He was continuing to teach the other how to pick the best berries, as well as leading the conversations they had. Some of it was typical boy stuff and such, part of it was an effort to examine political issues. I was saddened to hear their coarse, even vulgar language, partly because it was an indication that the potential they obviously had was being squandered.
I might have told them that as a mom I would appreciate it if they would restrain their language, but my husband had moved about a half-acre away when their conversation turned to knives and other weapons. Weapons do not frighten me unless they are in the hands of careless or disturbed people.
Their discussion evolved into who Jack the Ripper might have been with an interest that motivated me to simply move myself away. I wasn’t really afraid, lots of people discuss who J.t.R. was, but since I didn’t know more about these guys I decided not to chance provoking them.
Another day there was a group of women already picking when we arrived. Excited about how fruitful the plants were, a particularly loud one finally announced that her belly was full and her basket was full so it was time to go. In a not too loud voice I told my husband that I wouldn’t be announcing that fact.
Of course, I had to look, and sure enough, when I parted the bushes, she had a big belly. One just has to shake one’s head at the thinking behind some attitudes. Most everyone tastes the berries, but to make a meal of them is not acceptable.
The owners of this blueberry farm have shared some unbelievable stories about customers. Besides late freezes, hail storms, and drought making crop success iffy business, the thievery they have to put up with is astounding. Everyone expects to taste a berry or two from a row of bushes, but sometimes people will spend a long time in the patch, then leave without paying for even one basket of berries.
We’re thankful to be able to enjoy the fruits of these owners’ labors and are glad to pay for the privilege of picking at their organic farm. It is dreadful to see and hear about the difficulties they have, though, because it could mean that one day they will say enough is enough, and decide it’s time to close their doors to the public.
About Blueberry Jam and Conserve:
Start a Pot of Coffee and Serve the Blueberry Pie!
Well, all the rambling about picking blueberries in July brings me to this news. I’ll be posting a two-recipes-for-one hub on using blueberries in cow milk free cobbler and muffins as soon as my latest experiment comes out of the oven and I'm certain it is as good as expected.
You might like to plan on whipping one of them up and settling in with your favorite little person to watch the video next to this paragraph while you enjoy blueberry smiles together. It is a timeless story for young and old alike!
Working on new recipes with good-for-us ingredients makes picking mountain berries well-worth the time it takes. Now though, I need to start some decaf coffee!
When Picking Blueberries Beware of Bears In The Mountains!
Study Blueberry Varieties
Growing blueberries at home for your own use solves a lot of problems, including people problems. Using the step-by-step guide, Home Grown Blueberries can help you prepare and begin your own little stand. Once established you'll be ready to expand it season by season, and your neighbors will want to know what you've learned. Simply loan them the book and your neighborhood will be happily blue!
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