Blueberries :: Go pick your own!

As we near the end of summer with mixed emotions, we so badly want to hang on to those few days we have left and yet I do admit to also suffering from a bit of Mom Summer Burn-out. I, quite frankly, could sit by the pool or at the beach all day long with my armloads of magazines and a good book. But the children, notsomuch.  As a single mother who also happens to work from home, I need to carve out time for myself so that I can actually get some work done. With careful planning this all can happen - although I am grateful that soon school will help me with this juggling! I also need to be cognizant of recreational spending what with school supplies, uniforms, shoes, gym clothes, and regular clothes for three children. This time of year is even more expensive than Christmastime!

We've been talking about picking blueberries for years. We've picked strawberries and raspberries, but never the blueberries. So today, before the kids became glued to their iPads, we headed out the door and took a lovely ride to pick our blueberries. I had no idea that so many grew on bushes. I'd only seen the wild bushes in Maine, not those specifically grown for picking. Not only were the bushes all brimming with berries, but the fruit can be reached by even the smallest of children making this truly a family-friendly activity. Our berry farm encourages nibbling as you pick - without even knowing it your kids most likely will get their full day's serving of fruit. I know that mine certainly did!

If you live near fruit orchards or farms do check them out. They can be a fun (nutritious!) and inexpensive way to fill a little bit of your day. In New England it's peach and blueberry season.

Berry picking is very inexpensive. We picked 3 large containers, filled to the brim, and spent a little over $10 in the hour we were there. Our berry farm is owned by a family that also has a strawberry farm, squash and pumpkin patches and Christmas trees. We had a lovely hay ride through the property and saw some very large pumpkins ready to be picked, reminding us, yet again, how fleeting these days really are. Do get out and enjoy them!

Check your local farms to see what's available. We went to Jones Family Farms in Shelton, Connecticut, which is about half an hour away from where we live. The berry farm is closed on Sundays and Mondays. If you live in Fairfield or New Haven counties I highly recommend the drive! For more on Jones Farms visit their website here. And if you've never been there during the fall for pumpkin picking you simply must go. There really is no other place like it and the views are positively phenomenal!


Wondering what to do with all your blueberries?
You can make The Best Blueberry Muffins (ever!)
Simply Perfect One Bowl Blueberry Cake, is really fantastic!
Did you know that blueberries freeze beautifully?
Wash them and toss them right into your freezer for later use.
We adore frozen blueberries in our smoothies!

Our Favorite Blueberry Smoothie
1 cup low-fat or no-fat vanilla yogurt
1/4 - 1/2 cup 1% milk
1 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 frozen banana chopped (You can't taste the banana when it is frozen but this makes the smoothie as thick as a McDonald's milkshake!)
Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.
Makes 2 - 3 smoothies
Of course you can add any fruit you want... add peaches, strawberries, raspberries... anything you want!

I'll toss them onto yogurt with my homemade granola.
I think the kids will be asking for blueberry pancakes for breakfast.
But I'm really wanting to make a Blueberry Cobbler... a la mode!
If I do, I will let you know how that recipe turns out!

If you're looking for something to do go pick some berries... if you have younger children you must go find one of my most favorite children's books, Blueberries for Sal! Oh it makes me miss Maine so very much!

Happy Berry Picking!