One of my favorite fresh fruits to eat is the blueberry. I don’t like it cooked in pies or sauces or muffins, but will tolerate it in pancakes. I mostly like them fresh and raw, plump and sweet, bursting with flavor, and packing Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Manganese, and antioxidants. For more nutritional information go here.
Most years, I look forward to summertime – June through August – when it’s the height of blueberry season in the US and I can get fresh, plump, sweet berries readily at the market. Most of us think of blueberries coming from Maine, but those are lowbush berries that are used mostly for canning and processed foods. The big eatin’ kind come from other states. Did you know that just 6 states produce 90% of all highbush blueberries?
But in recent years, Florida has developed several varieties of blueberries that grow in our warmer weather and they happen to ripen earlier in the year than other berries in the US. So SWFL gets to stake a claim on the “first blueberries in the world” each year. Lucky for me and my family, a friend alerted us to a local blueberry patch near home.
Patty’s Patch happens to be located in Muse, near a sanctuary where our family spent many wonderful years when we first came to Florida. Patty’s Patch is only open for U-Pick business during April and May. So, today, the family and friends headed to the patch to pick berries. What a joy to walk among the rows of berry bushes, picking (and sampling) the sun-kissed, warm fruit under a beautiful Florida sky. As we roamed each row and picked, we marveled at the different sizes and shapes of the berries, we wondered how the farmers keep the birds away, we perfected our selection technique, and we laughed as we heard other people having the exact same conversations just a few rows away.
In the end our group came home with 10 pounds of blueberries, and if we don’t get some in the freezer quickly I’m gonna eat every one of them before bedtime!
- April 28 – National Blueberry Pie Day! (paralaxvu.wordpress.com)