Sunday, July 17, 2011
Blueberries are Lee's favorite fruit. We have tried to grow them, unsuccessfully. I think the location and soil has a lot to do with it, but nonetheless, no bluebs. So when the Roanoke Times had an article about pick-your-own blueberries, well, we were in!
The first farm we went to was Woodall Blueberries in New Castle. It is a LOOOONG drive from Buchanan, about 1 hour. We left early expecting heat. It was so cold, in the sixties, and overcast that I got Reynauds in my fingers. We left after picking a little more than 1 gallon. They charge $10.00 per gallon and gave us the extra at no charge. They were pretty picked over, but we got all we wanted in about 1 and 1/2 hours.
Next we drove to 3 Birds Berry Farm in Blacksburg. They had a lot more berries in cultivation, including raspberries and blackberries. Unfortunately we didn't read the part about closing, only the part about when they open, so we didn't have time to do much in the way of picking. Plus it was a Saturday and they explained that earlier in the week is better. By Friday they get pretty picked out and after a day to ripen with no pickers on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday were best.
We managed to get 1 1/2 gallons of blueberries quite quickly and then we left as they were closing. So, no other berries, but we will know better next year. They charge $20.00 a gallon, which is why we went to Woodalls first. But the had a much larger operation and three different berries, so we will hit them earlier and mid-week next year.
I have no idea what caused it to be cold and overcast and rainish, but it made for rather nice picking weather. Early in the day my fingers got very cold, but by the time we got to 3 Birds it was perfect. I am glad I brought tennies instead of my usual weekend footwear preference of flip-flops!. I can imagine that it would have been less pleasant on a hot buggy day. I guess we will find out next year.
I followed the advice at the farms and picked over the berries and then froze them in Ziploc bags with the air sucked out. I will wash them when I use them and try to get any frozen spideys and things off before I cook them. I'm having company in a few weeks. I plan on blueberry pies and crepes and pancakes and muffins, and maybe a cobbler or two. YUM. I have a freezer full and I'm not afraid to use them!