This week's market share…
It is easy to forget just how good local, in-season blueberries really are. I bought my first fresh pint from Sweet Berry Farm at the Aquidneck Growers Market this past Saturday. After that first irresistible taste (in the parking lot, of course) I wasn't sure that any of the berries would actually make it home. They were so good, in fact, that I was inspired to do something I haven't done since I was a kid—go pick my own blueberries.
Sweet Berry Farm is one of Middletown's hidden gems—100 acres of farmland nestled, unpresuming, just off Third Beach Road. Strolling into the farm's market to purchase my "pick your own" container, I was impressed to find it packed with local produce, cheese, and meat, as well as a wide array of jams, jellies, baked goods, and prepared meals that are all made on-site.
Outside, the farm offers three picking options—blueberries, blackberries and peaches. "During the season there aren't too many days where someone can't come out here with their family and pick something," claimed the farm's co-owner Jan Eckhart.
In fact, I had enlisted my family to join me, and although all three options were tempting, we had our hearts set on those scrumptious blueberries, and that is what we set out to pick. After about a half hour or so, our two-quart container was spilling over with those beautiful, sweet blueberries.
As we headed home, of course, I was already thinking about what I would do with them.
Let's get cooking…
Blueberry Scones. Not all scones are created equally, so I was thrilled to get this recipe from Steve Cory, owner and head chef of Cory's Kitchen at Sweet Berry Farm. If you are inclined to incorporate some whole wheat flour, I would choose pastry flour to substitute no more than one cup of all-purpose flour to start. Whole wheat flour "behaves" differently than white flour and will change the consistency of the end product, so I am always conservative with my substitutions when attempting a recipe for the first time.
On green salads. Blueberries are a great addition to any salad, and can help entice kids to eat their greens. Recently I introduced a berry salad, adapted from a Better Homes & Gardens kid-friendly recipe book, that has been a hit at lunch and dinner. Simply top greens with blueberries, blackberries, and any other fruit that is in season, toss with fat-free vanilla yogurt and honey, and sprinkle with whole-wheat Goldfish crackers on top. We actually get requests for "fish salad!"
Soup. Seriously. Blueberry soup is popular in Sweden, and given that all things Swedish are all the rage—thanks to the film, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo— consider this suggestion my subtle nod to the venerable Stieg Larsson and the craze he has posthumously created. Soup is a great option after a day of picking because it requires a lot of blueberries. I found the recipe I use at the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council website. (http://www.blueberrycouncil.com/recipes-popup.php?id=102)
Harvest Sneak Peak…
Corn is turning up at the farmers' markets in progressively greater abundance. Take advantage of it while it's here, because nothing beats local, fresh sweet corn!
Recipe: Cory's Kitchen Blueberry Scones
4 c. flour
½ c. sugar (to taste)
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
2/3 c. butter, cold & diced small
2 large eggs, beaten
1 ½ cups buttermilk (or any milk product)
Preheat oven to 350. Stir dry ingredients in a bowl. Cut in butter, using 2 knives or a pastry knife, until mixture is crumbly, resembling pie dough. Slowly mix in wet ingredients. Mixture will be wet. Fold in 2 cups blueberries. Put on a floured surface, roll gently, and either scoop or cut into portions. Brush with milk or egg if desired and sprinkle with course sugar. Oven times will vary depending on size and shape of your scones; cook at 350 until brown. www.coryskitchen.com