Thursday, August 29, 2013

Buckets (and buckets) of Blueberries

You should know by now that my favorite color is blue.  You may also be aware of my more than slight obsession with fresh fruit and the fact that I'm a sucker for a good deal.  Well it turns out if you combine something blue, something fruity and something that's a super good deal, I get more than a little carried away. And by a little I mean a lot.

On a recent trip to Michigan we stopped at a fruit farm along the shores of Lake Michigan.  To say there was an abundance of blueberries would be an understatement.  Rows of blueberry bushes stretched farther than I could see.  Each bush was absolutely loaded with bunches of ripe, juicy berries.

I guess I thought blueberries grew on short little bushes and that I would be bending over picking berry after berry one at a time.  Instead I barely had to move my hand and an entire cluster would fill it up.  As in, so big a handful I was dropping berries left and right. The bushes were taller than me and each one was loaded with little blue balls of bliss.  I loved the sound of the  plink, plink, plink in the bottom of my bucket, but it didn't last long.

To be perfectly honest a large portion of those handfuls never even made it to the bucket.  I actually had to stop and remind myself (several times) to put the berries in the bucket not just in my mouth.  They definitely should have weighed me before and after picking and charged for the difference.  I know I ate at least 4-5 pounds while picking.

Oh and get this, these fresh picked Michigan blueberries were only 75 cents a pound!  That's right $0.75/lb.  Those pint boxes in the grocery store weigh about 11 oz. and sell for around $2.48 a pop on an average day.  At 75 cents a pound we were getting the equivalent of a pint box for around 51 cents each.

Of course this "good deal factor" only heightened my frenzy to pick more, more, more.  And you can't even begin to factor in the fun and delight of picking the berries yourself.  Each bush seemed to have bigger, better and blue-er bunches, making it nearly impossible to stop picking.  Plus there were no bugs, no thorns and it was a great way to stretch after being in the car for 8 hours.

Forty pounds of blueberries later we got back in the car to continue our trip.  Yep, 40 pounds. I told you I got a little more than carried away.  We picked 7 bucket-fulls.  By the time we got to our destination we had 6 buckets and 2 very full tummies.

We picked with our hands, but this blueberry harvester was sitting near the shed.  The spokes inside rotate, shaking the bushes so that the berries fall off.  I never saw it in use, but I'm pretty sure the farmer was amused that I wanted to take a picture.

Lot's of other fresh fruit and produce was also for sale as well as a ton of no-one-wants-this-leftover-garage-sale-type items.  I fell for a vintage cookbook just like one my mom had growing up.  We also bought some fresh peaches and apricots.

Oh, and a few days later we stopped on way the home and did it all over again. The majority of these deliciously refreshing blue bubbles were eaten fresh by the handful.  A good portion were frozen, and I made a blueberry pie and blueberry crisp.  Those, however, will have to wait for another day.

I never once got sick of eating blueberries.  If I lived at a blueberry farm, I would never leave the fields.  The pictures don't even give you a hint at the whole experience, but here are a few more anyway...because blue + fruit = I got carried away....but in a good way I would repeat in a heartbeat.

Food for Thought: "One man gives freely yet gains even more; another withholds unduly yet comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper, he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed." -Proverbs 11:24-25

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