Sunday, June 26, 2011

Blueberry Surprise

We went to pick blueberries this weekend. New Jersey is known for its blueberries (also cranberries, corn, and tomatoes). The bushes were spread out in long rows and every row had its devotees. It’s easy for families to bring their children blueberry picking. The bushes are low enough for small hands to contribute to the gathering. And there were children galore, happily pointing out the best bushes. In truth, all the bushes were best.

We picked lots of fat, ripe berries, almost eight pounds, but not nearly as much as the family before us in line. They picked about thirty pounds. With two extra pairs of hands the picking really picked up. It reminded me of taking our own children blueberry picking; it was an adventure as much as a functional trip. You never could tell what would happen. My very first published article was about a local blueberry field we visited as a family. It was a surprise that jump-started my writing career. And this day, too, brought a surprise, though not as dramatic.

Take a close look through the leaves of the photo. There is a mommy sparrow nestled in the blueberry bush. She’s hard to see but there she is, sitting on her eggs. Even though people kept pointing to her and talking close by, she didn’t move. No one, not even the young children who were entranced by the nest, did anything to frighten her.

The farmer knew about the sparrow and said she was used to people. This was an organic farm so he wasn’t worried about the health of the birds. He also told us that he has no trouble with critters stealing his crop. Because he doesn’t use artificial chemicals the red tailed hawks found their way to the farm and established a nest. It didn’t take long for the squirrels and rabbits to size up the situation, being a hawk’s food source, and hightail it to safer places.

I like that no pesticides were used; I try to buy organic as much as possible. To me organic tastes better. And these berries were no different. So far they have been 1) cooked in a blueberry cobbler, 2) sprinkled on top of homemade granola, and 3) eaten by the handful all by themselves. They are terrific!

Are you interested in organic blueberries? If you live in New Jersey, here is the farm we picked at: There are many pick-your-own farms across the country. This site directs you (Organic PYOs are indicated in green) state-by-state

1 comment:

  1. Ferida,

    Wonderful article. Our family goes picking every year, and we will certainly give this farm a try.