Wisconsin Blueberry Farm
Saturday we went blueberry picking to a family owned orchard an hour north of where we live. We’ve been to this orchard before, some years ago, when our boys were younger and able to go with us. There are acres and acres of blueberry bushes, all growing along the contours of the West Central Wisconsin hills. By all accounts, it is a successful and well run operation.
Upon arrival we were sent to some bushes along an “upper ridge” that had not be recently picked. We misunderstood the directions and ended up in the main field where, sadly, most of the bushes had already been visited and stood barren. The farm opens on Saturday mornings only at 7 a.m. only for u-pick blueberries. We had planned to be there at opening, getting up at six for a early start. But, as soon as I uttered the question, “is it raining?” to my husband, it was! I felt I had jinxed our morning plans.
But, by mid-morning the skies had cleared an we were on our way. I had done some bucket reconnaissance a few days earlier to aid our collection as the farm likes you to bring your own. However, we ended up using theirs which were just large ice cream buckets lined with a plastic bag. You keep the bag and berries, they keep the bucket for re-use. The berries cost is determined by how much the bucket weighs (minus the bucket weight) at $1.50 per pound.
After re-directing ourselves to the “upper ridge” we found two rows of blueberries near what we assumed was the house of the farm’s owners. Only two other people were picking and they were at the far end of the rows. Once there, we found the shrubs loaded with small to medium sized berries that were very sweet. We did not know the variety but thought they were Northern. They could have also been Duke, Reka, Patriot, BlueJay, BlueCrop, or BlueRay. Cain’s website states that the farm grows ten types of blueberries. So, we could have picked any of these varieties or something else entirely. Since there was more than we could wish for on the rows we visited, we did not wander the farm as we have in past years. There was no need. And, it was getting close to noon-time heat, so getting the job done became paramount!
The Bountiful Berries Make Delicious Desserts
In little less than an hour we had two full buckets of blueberries! We had a little more than 12 pounds! That’s a lot of berries! One of my friends asked, “What are you going to do with all those berries?” It’s a good question!
We like pies and crostatas in our house. I think it comes from having a home fruit orchard of our own. Saturday night my husband made a delicious blueberry pie. It was THE best berry pie he’s ever made! Fresh, handpicked berries must be the key!
I also have a recipe for lemon blueberry scones that I want to make.
Breakfasts, lunches, and dinners since Saturday have included a bowl of berries, too. They’re like candy! Just wash prior to eating and YUM!
Blueberry muffins come to mind, as does my blueberry-plum jam but I only have one plum from our trees this year. I suppose I could get some plums from the market, but that’s not nearly as fun as making a product or gift from your own trees. Plus, I saw a recipe for a Peach -Bourbon Freezer Jam. Peaches do not grow well in Wisconsin, so purchasing some from the grocer will be necessary if I want to do that.
Back to Blueberries
Blueberries are considered a superfood, rich in anti-oxidant properties. You can be alerted to this by their purple color! They also help to keep inflammation in check. Additionally, blueberries are rich in other nutrients such as Vitamin C, Folate, Vitamin A, and Fiber. Sources:
Driscolls: Fight Cancer with Anti-oxidant Berries and National Blueberry Month: Health Benefits and Cancer Prevention.
I eat blueberries just because I like them. They are easy to eat by hand, easy to pack for a snack, and ever so delicious! I know it looks like we got our share of blueberries for the year, but maybe, not! I think they’ll be gone quick!
Have you ever gone blueberry picking?