Blueberries galore!

Blueberries on the bush.Yes­ter­day morn­ing we went blue­berry pick­ing at Maple Lane Farms. The weather was per­fect and the heat of the day had not yet set in. It was just the right set­ting for one of Johann’s favorite books called Peter in Blue­berry Land by Elsa Beskow. I imag­ined the lit­tle blue­berry peo­ple were watch­ing us with keen interest.

We arrived 45 min­utes before they closed for the day, but that turned out to be all the time we needed. Between the three of us, we picked 10 pounds of blue­ber­ries! While we were there, I could feel all of us unwind­ing. I always feel bet­ter when we are away from town. The longer we are in Mys­tic, with the ever present empha­sis on money and mate­r­ial wealth cou­pled with the gen­eral atti­tude that those char­ac­ter­is­tics alone mark the value of a per­son, and the more hec­tic Eric’s sched­ule becomes, the more I find we are seek­ing out places that are more rural and down-to-earth.

Johann’s birth­day party was at a beau­ti­ful farm in Thopm­son, CT called Fort Hill Farms. We go to the state parks for walks as much as pos­si­ble. We try to pick our own fruit dur­ing the grow­ing sea­son at var­i­ous farms in the area. We mark the pas­sage of the year by fol­low­ing what is in sea­son and what stage of devel­op­ment our gar­den is in. A friend from the uni­ver­sity recently told us he didn’t real­ize we lived in down­town Mys­tic. He always pic­tured us as liv­ing on a farm some­where. I don’t think he could have paid us a bet­ter compliment!

Johann picking blueberries.

I made a blue­berry pie last night and fresh whipped cream this morn­ing. Johann may never want to eat the canned stuff again, but I thought we couldn’t pos­si­bly put store-bought whipped cream on the blue­berry pie I made with berries we had just picked our­selves. That just seemed wrong to me.

The ten pounds of blueberries we picked.

Our first blueberry pie of the season.I used my grandmother’s recipe. We tried a friend’s recipe last year, which has a reg­u­lar fill­ing like cherry pie and a dou­ble crust. It was good, but we all agreed we pre­fer my grandmother’s recipe, which is the one I grew up with. Grand­mother was Ger­man. Her recipe for blue­berry pie reminds me of some of the cakes I saw in Ger­man bak­eries when I stud­ied abroad in col­lege. The sponge cake had a thin layer of sweet­ened gelatin on top with fresh fruit set in it. Her pie has only one crust, which is pre-baked. The fill­ing is cooked on the stove­top until it turns clear and bright pur­ple from the berries. At the last minute more fruit is added with a table­spoon of but­ter. Once the but­ter is melted, the fill­ing is poured into the pre­pared pie shell before chill­ing until it is set.

The adven­ture now is going to be how I will process all the rest of the blue­ber­ries! I have a request for another pie already. Blue­berry pan­cakes and muffins will only reduce the amount slightly. I think I will have to try pre­serves or jam again, although my attempt at straw­berry jam a cou­ple of years ago wasn’t a total dis­as­ter. At least I know Eric and Johann love my pie. They have also made it clear that I can use them as taste testers any­time I need to. They are will­ing to make the sacrifice.