Best of 2011: Blueberry Picking Field Trip
Despite being surrounded by farmland up at our cottage, Scarlett and I rarely visit the farms. However, when we recently had friends up for a visited, I decided it was time to expand our normal activity plan of eating, kayaking, eating, swimming, eating, painting rocks, eating, you get my drift. So, early one morning, we decided to visit the local berry farm to pick blueberries.
Rule Number 1: Don’t go berry picking early in the morning. Actually, to avoid blazing heat it is the best time, but getting three girls out of the house before 9am at a cottage, not so easy. There were discussion about what to wear, what not to wear, fighting over outfits, crying over leggings, hats and sunscreen. It was all we could do to get them in the car.
However, once we got to the farm and everyone had their baskets, things started to work out nicely. If you’ve never gone blueberry picking, the trick to getting them off the vine is no trick. A ripe blueberry should just fall into the palm of your hand. If you have to pluck them off the bush, then it’s not ready for prime time. Therefore, blueberry picking is great for all kids, unlike apple picking. They don’t have to use too much effort and the bushes are within their reach, no matter the age.
Photos by Maya Visnyei
Scarlett and her friends, Brittany and Riley, worked side-by-side and alerted each other when they found a bush full of berries that slid off into their hands. It was all fun and games until someone suggested they see who could get the most berries in their basket. Suddenly, it was a mad dash for berries. Rule Number 2: Don’t give them each a basket. Let them all contribute, as a team, to one basket. Trust me.
We meandered up and down the hilly aisles of berries. The girls loved to see how young berries are white and then gradually deepened in color. They sampled as they picked and quickly learned how tart young berries tasted. When they grew tired of picking, they ran the paths and played a few games of hide and seek. Luckily, our farm was pretty quiet that day (despite the 5 year-old boy just randomly yelling his name out) so these antics went unnoticed by other pickers.
In the end, we all had an abundance of beautiful berries. We spilled them (don’t ask), snacked on them, mixed them with our yogurt, made cookies and, with the last two cups, Scarlett and I made a crumble. We used Gwyneth Paltrow’s recipe from her cookbook My Father’s Daughter. Along side some local peaches (picked by the farmer, thankfully, not us) and apples, the fruits of our labor (literally) helped make an awesome dessert to bring to our friend’s cottage a few nights later.
Gwyneth’s Seasonal Crumble
4 cups fruit (sliced peaches, diced apples, blueberries, blackberries etc.)
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon white spelt flour
1 cup whole rolled oats (not instant and not steel-cut)
1/4 cup firmly packed unrefined dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
Ice Cream for serving
Preheat oven to 350
Combine the fruit with the 1 tablespoon of flour in a 9-inch pie pan or similar-sized baking dish. Combine the rest of the ingredients (except ice cream) together in a mixing bowl, using your hands to form pea-sized crumbs. Sprinkle the topping evenlyover the fruit.. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the topping is browned and the fruit juices are bubbling. Serve warm with ice cream.
Originally posted August 18, 2011
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