Go now! Pack up the kids. Go with your sweetie. Invite your parents and grandparents. Your friends and neighbors will want to join you. Going alone is acceptable too.
The only thing you need to bring along is a container to put them in. Shhh, I’m sharing a secret…it’s okay to eat blueberries as you pick. Regardless if you go alone or with others, you’ll definitely create new memories to cherish.
How my love for picking berries began
My love for blueberries can be traced back to one of my earliest childhood memories. When I was six years old I went huckleberry picking with my dad and younger brother, Joey, in Mt. Carmel, Pa, the small coal mining town where my parents grew up. I remember my Uncle Leo dropped the three of us off on the “mountain” to pick the berries. We had a great time and Joey and I couldn’t wait to go home and show Babcia (meaning grandma in Polish) how much we’d picked before eating as many huckleberries as we could.
But when it was time leave the mountain, Uncle Leo forgot to come back to pick us up! So my dad, brother and I did what people did back then – we hitchhiked back home. Upon our return, Uncle Leo was scolded by both Babcia and dad. As a child, watching an adult get “in trouble” was such an interesting thing to observe. Joey and I ate the delicious huckleberries with milk. To this day, he and I reminisce about that day and since then, I’ve continued to pick berries year after year. This is my story….what will yours be?
It’s about so much more than just the blueberries
On my first blueberry picking jaunt of this season, my dear friends Jan and Liz accompanied me. The three of us picked nearly 30 lbs. of berries in just an hour and a half. For those 90 minutes, we each reveled in the simple pleasures that come from being in nature – the breeze, the warmth of the sun, the clouds, the outdoor smells, our sweat, and the songs of birds. How wonderful is that? Like us, you’ll find that any stress or tension you have is washed away, replaced with feelings of calmness and serenity.
With no electronic devices on you (take my advice: leave them at home or in your car), there are no dings and buzzes alerting you to texts, emails and calls that will drag you back into the stresses and distractions of our busy world. The ability to temporarily remove these distractions from your life (even if just for an hour or two) and to instead focus on the amazing sights and sounds of nature is priceless. You’ll wish you could stay in this calm and peaceful place forever.
These easy to pick berries grow on grape-like clusters or bushes. You might be surprised to know that blueberries and cranberries are both members of the Ericacea family. Here in eastern North America, the Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinum corymbosom) is the variety of blueberry you’ll most commonly find. Birds and bees love the sweet berries as much as we humans do.
The health benefits of blueberries are seemingly endless. They’re a medicinal food rich in anti-oxidants and phytonutrients. Anti-oxidants help rid the body of damaging free radicals or molecular byproducts of cellular reactions that promote disease. Oligomeric procyanins are the flavonoid complexes found in blueberries that are known to enhance heart health and brain health. Phytochemical anthocyanin pigments give blueberries their deep blue red color.
One cup of blueberries contains about 85 calories. They’re low on the glycemic index (meaning they won’t spike your blood sugar as dramatically as fruits with higher on the glycemic index, such as pineapple) and a good source of vitamin C and fiber. I eat about a cup of blueberries daily year round to support my cardiac vessels. Add your freshly picked blueberries to oatmeal, yogurt, pancakes, smoothies, banana or zucchini bread, or a salad. Better yet make a pie or cobbler, like my rustic peach blueberry pie. Yes, I am a nutritionist and pie is okay so long as you use real ingredients (i.e. use butter, lard or coconut oil for the crust). Are you hungry yet? In June and July, I embrace the local and fresh harvest from Glade-Link Farms. After that, I raid my freezer and enjoy them frozen. I’m disappointed when my frozen stash is depleted and I have to resort to buying foreign-imported blueberries at my local grocery store.
What is your favorite way to enjoy blueberries?
Pick your own blueberries at Glade-Link Farms
Glade-Link Farms (website | Facebook) grows six blueberry varieties. This extends the growing season, since they mature at different times. The blueberry you pick in June will be different then the variety picked in late July. The season ends this month (July). Don’t delay!
Call Glade-Link Farms at 301-898-7131 before visiting to get the latest information including possible weather related closings.
Also be sure to stop by their booth at the West Frederick Farmers’ Market every Saturday from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. In addition to blueberries, you can also buy their farm-grown sunflowers and beets.
Jump over to my nutrition consults page and let’s set up a time to chat about what how you can harness the potent anti-aging, cancer fighting, and heart healthy benefits of eating fruits and vegetables within the phytonutrient spectrum’s six color groups (blue/purple, red, orange, yellow, green, white/tan)!