You-Pick Blueberries in South Louisiana
Thanks to the Dawson's Blueberry Farm
I would like to acknowledge and celebrate the small "pick your own" Blueberry farmers in our area. Growing blueberries is difficult in south Louisiana because of the heat and humidity, but the local Mom and Pop operations seem to weather whatever Mother Nature throws at them.
Actually, as I write this, I am thinking of one particular couple, Mr. and Mrs. Ed Dawson, that not only have a fantastic little Blueberry farm, but who are always warm and helpful to whomever comes to their Blueberry Patch near Bush, Louisiana. Mrs. Dawson will share her easy recipes and Mr. Dawson will tell you how to grow blueberries and even sell you some plants.
Thanks, Mr. & Mrs. Dawson for Making Our Blueberry Picking Experience So Successful & Enjoyable.
Southern Hospitality in the You-Pick Blueberry Patch
The Dawsons are the epitome of southern hospitality. When you visit their You-Pick Blueberry business they treat you like you are a guest in their home.
Mr. Dawson handles most of the planting and growing chores and also has blueberry and other fruit bushes in pots for sale. He will take as much time as you need to explain the process of planting, fertilizing and pruning blueberry bushes. He even has fertilizer on hand if you need some.
Mrs. Dawson goes out of her way to make you feel welcome and will readily give you a tour of the grounds. She knows all about growing fruit trees and shrubs and will share a wealth of information on the subject. She also does some of the pruning and maintenance around the place. Being a genteel southerner, she loves to share her blueberry recipes with her customers. She is also an expert on the best way to store blueberries.
Blueberry Hill by Fats Domino
We hope you enjoy this tribute to the small Blueberry farmer. While you read, why not bring back some memories by listening to this song from way back when.
What do you like about Blueberries?
Joy of Blueberries
If You Want to Visit the Dawson's Blueberry Patch...
If you'd like to visit their blueberry farm, it's best to call ahead in early May to find out when the berries will be ready to pick. They usually ripen in June, depending on the weather.
If you'd like to purchase some of the many varieties of fruit trees and bushes that Mr. Ed grows, then fall is the best time to get and plant them. Here's their contact information.
81668 Hwy. 1083
Bush, LA 70431
Phone: (985) 892-8795
Very Blueberry Cookbook
Since blueberries are an important antioxidant and brain food, we thought we'd share the information that we learned from both Mr. and Mrs. Dawson.
Directions for storing
The key to keeping blueberries tender when freezing is to make sure that they are completely dry before placing them in the bags. Mrs. Dawson recommends that you spread them out on a flat surface in your kitchen, that is covered with a towel or paper towels. Pat gently with more paper towels and let them sit there to dry for at least and hour. When they are dry, bag them in airtight containers like zip lock bags and freeze immediately. If the berries are prepared in this way, the skin does not get leathery so they can be eaten in cereal and they taste almost as good as fresh.
Another storage method, which is similar to making jam, but not nearly as labor intensive, is to make Blueberry Sauce. You'll find the recipe below.
Life's Little Blueberry Cookbook
So many tasty blueberry recipes all in one place. It doesn't get much better than this.
Mrs. Dawson's Blueberry Recipes
We like to eat blueberries fresh, when they are in season. I enjoy them in vanilla Activia yogurt with cereal. Al likes them in cereal with milk and also added to ice cream. The sauce or pie filling recipe below makes an excellent topping for ice cream if you want a little more sweetness.
Mrs. Dawson's Blueberry Sauce
4 cups fresh blueberries
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
dash of almond extract
Blend 1/2 cup sugar and the cornstarch in medium saucepan. Stir in blueberries and lemon juice. Cook, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute. Add a dash (1/8 teaspoon) of almond extract. This sauce can be poured into sterilized jars and kept in the refrigerator to be used like jam on toast, biscuits, ice cream, etc. You can also pour the hot mixture into a casserole dish, add biscuit dough and make a cobbler or use the blueberry sauce / filling in pies.
1 1/2 sticks of butter or margarine, melted
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 (8 os.) pkg. cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 cup flour
2 cup cool whip
2 1/2 cups of Mrs. Dawson's Blueberry Sauce
Combine butter or margarine, flour and pecans. Press into a 9X13 inch pan. Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes. Cool. Slice bananas and cover cooled crust. Cream powdered sugar, cheese, and 1 cup of Cool Whip together. Spread over bananas. Pour blueberry sauce over cheese mixture and top with 1 cup of Cool Whip. Refrigerate.
Blueberry Pie (with Sour Cream and Topping)
1 cup sour cream
2 Tablespoons flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen Blueberries
1 (9) inch Pie shell, unbaked
3 Tablespoons flour
3 Tablespoons Pecans, chopped
3 Tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
Combine first 6 ingredients (sour cream, flour, sugar, vanilla, salt, egg). Beat 5 minutes or until smooth. Fold in blueberries. Pour into pie shell and bake at 400 degrees F for 25 minutes. Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle over top of pie. Bake 10 minutes more.
(For homemade pie crust, pre-cook in oven for 10 minutes, then place ingredients into crust and bake for 25 minutes, especially if the crust is thick.)
1 can crushed pineapple
3/4 cup sugar
1 stick butter or margarine
1/4 cup sugar
3 cups blueberries
1 box yellow cake mix
1 cup nuts
Grease oblong pan, pour in pineapple. Add blueberries and 3/4 cup sugar. Sprinkle on nuts and remaining sugar. Bake 35 to 40 minutes at 350 degrees F. About mid-way through cooking time, cut slits in cake to allow juice to come to the top of cake. Wait at least 25 minutes to cut.
There are other recipes for blueberries and other fruit on Favorite Wild Fruits.
If you don't have time to make it from scratch, try these delicious mixes for pan cakes or waffles. Spice them up a little by adding some fresh or frozen blueberries.
Very Blueberry Cookbook
Recipes for blueberries and more blueberries.
Blueberry bushes like acidic soil, so they can be treated like Azalea bushes. Pine needles make a good mulch for them and any acidic fertilizer applied in March and July after the second year will work. After they are 6-8 feet tall, to keep the bushes in bounds, so that the berries are easier to reach, you can prune back 2-3 of the tallest canes to 24 inches during winter each year.
For more information about growing Blueberries in Louisiana, visit the LSUAgcenter site and download the Home Blueberry Production in Louisiana.
For more recipes and other tips about using Blueberries, the LSUAgCenter also has the pamphlet, Enjoy Louisiana Blueberries, that can be downloaded.
The LSUAgCenter also has a list of other St. Tammany Parish Fruit Producers. When picking Blueberries, they suggest that you be sure to bring water bottles, sun screen and insect repellent. It's also a really good idea to wear hats, old shoes and clothing that covers most of the body.
Blueberry flowers and berry photos by Y.L. Bordelon, All Rights Reserved