And yet, as one who is not fond of heat and extremely not fond of bees, I found picking blueberries to be beautiful, pleasurable and meditative.
We are fortunate to have a blueberry farm (Blueberry Hill U-Pick) nearby. It is on one of those long country roads that several of us have stories about – getting terribly lost in the days before GPS in the car and ubiquitous cell phones and thinking we would never find civilization again.
I went out yesterday by myself – I can’t think why I didn’t have helpers at 3 pm on a hot day in July (yes, early morning or evening have been more comfortable). There were plenty of berries on the bushes and, alone in the field, I began culling through and selecting the ripe ones. I must be slow, as it took about an hour to fill the gallon bucket (there were a few moments where filling the container did seem to be a sisyphean task.)
It is interesting to work side-by-side with the bees, both focused only on the sweet berries. The fruit-filled bushes themselves are beautiful – I have a nice picture but I can’t figure out how to get it downloaded from my cell phone. Note to self: bring real camera next time.
Blueberries are a big part of my locavore “fruit in winter” plan, so we’ll back to the farm (I have at least one volunteer lined-up for the next trip). I hope to have several gallons stored up by the end of the season (that is, if we are able to freeze more than we eat…)
We froze quite a few blueberries last summer, and they lasted most of the winter for use on cereal or in muffins. I used the following method to yield individual frozen blueberries: rinse, dry, and lay out in a single layer on a cookie sheet or pan (one with a rim, as blue berries are roly-poly), freeze (it takes a few hours), then store in bags or containers.