Friday, July 24, 2009

Thirteen Gallons and Whaddya Get?

Out here in rural America, there exists such a thing as a "pick-your-own _____" (fill in the blank with the crop of your choice: strawberries, corn, blackberries, peaches, plums, or in this case, blueberries).

Yes, I needed more blueberries and the grocery store's prices had rebounded back to $3.99 for a pint.

So today my mother took me to her favorite "pick your own". This is what a blueberry farm looks like. I could pan the camera 360 degrees, all the views would look the same.

This is early morning -about 8:30 - and the mist is still coming up off the ground.

Mom digs right in - these bushes are taller than she is but they never stood a chance.

There were plenty of other people there and more than a few that obviously had never been to an orchard before, or perhaps even outside a city.

These are old established blueberry bushes, standing approximately 5-6' tall. Some of the trunks have lichens and moss growing on them. The light-colored berries are not ripe yet.

But you can see the deep purple ripe berries in the corners here. I started out picking whatever berries I saw, but then I developed my personal technique: reach for the top branches and pull them gently down - they are covered in clusters of huge, ripe berries. Cup the cluster in one hand and roll the berries off into the bucket. Repeat until bucket is full.

After a minute or so (each bucket holds about 6 gallons).

The final total: slightly over 13 gallons. I finally ate my fill of blueberries.

And this is the world's worst photo of individual 1/2 cup servings of blueberries, each in it's own little snack-size bag, then bagged again in a plastic gallon zip loc. After this they went immediately into the freezer.

I would have frozen them on cookie sheets again, but it would have taken forever, and the faster the fresh berries are frozen, the better they keep.

For anyone in the Bedford County area of Virginia, you can't go wrong visiting TLC Orchards, 1153 Capital Hill Rd, Moneta,VA. They are open Monday thru Sunday, from 7 am to 1 pm. Phone #540-297-1168. As of today, 7-24-09, blueberries are $2.50 per gallon. Bring your own bucket.

1 comment:

  1. They look lovely! We have plenty of PYO strawberry farms - yum!