Recent Comments


    Blueberry Bonanza

    By Debra Morris–

    “You ought to have seen what I saw on my way
    To the village, through Mortenson’s pasture to-day:
    Blueberries as big as the end of your thumb,
    Real sky-blue, and heavy, and ready to drum
    In the cavernous pail of the first one to come!”
    —”Blueberries” by Robert Frost

    For centuries, blueberries were gathered from the forests and bogs by Native Americans and consumed fresh and also preserved. The Northeast Native American tribes revered blueberries and much folklore developed around them.

    Commercial development of blueberries really didn’t begin until the early 20th century when they were successfully cultivated. Blueberries’ ever-growing popularity in the marketplace is due to a list of health benefits, including reduced risk of cancer, prevention of urinary tract infections, and improved eyesight.

    Blueberry production in California is estimated at around 1,500 acres and is rapidly increasing. More producers are trying blueberries because they are easy to grow and are very popular. Highland blueberries are the most commonly cultivated forms and the type we see most often in the markets; and cultivated high bush blueberries have often been hybridized to produce larger size berries.

    Blueberries should arrive in mid-April. Your farmers’ market will have some of the best blueberries you can find. They are hand-picked and harvested right before their delivery to you. Why trust blueberries from anywhere else? They’re as fresh as you can get, grown locally, and from those who love to talk about their crop.

    Select berries that are completely blue, with no tinge of red. That natural shimmery silver coating you see on blueberries is desirable as it is a natural protectant. Blueberries that are too large tend to be watery. Purchase smaller blueberries and they will have more intense flavor. Keep blueberries refrigerated, unwashed, in a rigid container covered with clear wrap. They should last up to a week if they are freshly-picked. Blueberries are highly perishable, so do try to use them as soon as possible.

    You’ll find blueberries at the farmers’ market from Alpine Blue out of Stockton. Get enough to make some blueberry muffins or a pie! Then try this refreshing lemonade.

    Blueberry Lemonade with Mint

    2 cups blueberries (plus a small handful for garnish)
    1 mint sprig (plus 4 more for garnish)
    1/4 cup honey
    1/2 cup lemon juice (juice from 3–4 small lemons)
    3 cups water or sparkling water
    A generous pinch of salt

    Muddle berries, honey, salt, and mint until all the blueberries are squashed. Scrape the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer with a rubber spatula, leaving only the skins and mint sprig. Be sure to scrape the underside of the strainer. Combine the blueberry juice mixture, lemon juice, and water and stir. Serve over ice and garnish with a mint sprig and some frozen blueberries in each of four glasses. For an adult beverage, add 1 jigger of gin or vodka per glass. Serves 4.

    For more recipes, information about additional local farmers’ markets, and more, visit the Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association website:

    Debra Morris is a spokesperson for the Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association.

    This Month at the Farmers’ Market
    Published on April 4, 2024