Today we set off on our trip to Michigan to pick up blueberries! It just starts to rain spottily as we leave—unfortunately not hitting Apple Blossom Orchard, but providing relief for us from the unrelenting heat of the sun. Our produce needs moisture! As we leave, we pray some rain will water our trees and gardens.
On the way, we pass through Chicago (playing many car games and spotting a fancy Ferrari to boot!) and then again find ourselves watching the corn and alfalfa fields pass by. We learn many interesting things about Michigan. The soil is mostly sandy; this is perfect for growing blueberries, as the bushes prefer well-drained soil. Also, Michigan is the leading producer of blueberries in the United States with 87 million pounds harvested in 2012. We surmise that this may be why blueberries do not grow as well in Wisconsin. Other random facts we enjoy learning: the state bird is the robin, just like Wisconsin, and the state reptile is the painted turtle. Suddenly, the fields change! The stalks of corn become large bushes—the first time we have ever seen acres of blueberry bushes in person. Of course, we stopped on the side of the road to take pictures. They were so beautiful, growing in clusters, with the blue fruit contrasting against the green foliage.
We listen to the weather report, as well, which reports up to 8-foot tall waves on Lake Michigan. Whoa! There are hardly any cars on the road due to the cloudy and possibly stormy weather as we approach our destination. The blueberry fields become more concentrated, and a few minutes later, we reach the blueberry place. We see workers going in and out of the packaging facility, breaking for lunch, and finally stacking our order of 2,500 pounds of blueberries onto the forklifts. Two nice men named Willie and Alfredo man the forklifts, and with expertise, load two pallets onto our trailer and the remainder of the order into the back of our SUV.
We take one of the boxes up front and begin consuming them. We can testify, they are absolutely delicious! By the end of the trip back home, the box is mostly empty—approximately 7 pounds of blueberries eaten by five people in one day. We aren’t sick yet! Sometimes you can live off random foods.
Here are some amazing blueberry recipes…
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup shortening
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 pint fresh or thawed frozen blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup margarine or butter
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped nuts (if desired)
Cream sugar and shortening together. Add remaining ingredients except blueberries. Mix well. Carefully fold in blueberries. Pour into a greased 9” pan. Combine topping ingredients with a fork until a course crumb consistency. Sprinkle on top. Bake at 375 degrees 45-50 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean.
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Fresh mint sprig to garnish (if desired)
Process first five ingredients in a blender until smooth. Pour into a 9-inch square pan. Cover and freeze for 4 hours or until firm. Process frozen mixture in a blender until smooth. Cover and freeze 4 hours until frozen again. Garnish, if desired. For this recipe, we simply ate it after blending it the first time.
Enjoy! I know we are!