Blueberries

Blueberries are native only to North America. Wild Maine blueberries, like Maine lobster, are the best — finest kind. They are small and full of flavor, unlike the larger ones that grow higher off the ground in places like New Jersey, Oregon and Washington. Our friends in Maine will sometimes eat the larger, inferior blueberries from away but that’s an anomaly.

Blueberries are raked and it is difficult and back-breaking work. If you are good at it, you can make a big wad of cash during the season, typically the month of August. In the 90’s, that’s how teenagers in our town earned money to buy a car. Camille raked blueberries one day and that was enough. Sam did it for a while longer than that.

Here in California, we have found wild Maine blueberries, as well as those grown in the Maritime provinces at Trader Joe’s, in the frozen section under their own brand. Generally, Denise uses them for baking and my personal favorite is a coffee cake recipe she got from the baker at a country store in Maine. She had a good rep in town and the gentleman was happy to share it with her, under the condition that she never used it commercially and with the understanding that we were heading back to California. The secret was the crusty, sugary, tart, blueberry top on the cake.

You can buy blueberries in a variety of ways, but we prefer the roadside stand where you leave your money in a jar. By the way, this is a common practice in Maine for selling anything from camp wood to blueberries to pies or baked goods. Many of the stands will have a sign advertising blueberrys. Don’t be fooled by this marketing ploy — the obvious misspelling gives the stand or display a down-home, rural ambience.  Denise enjoys blueberries al fresco and one at a time.

6 Comments

  1. Donna Webster said:

    you’re a natural Bo. I think you should just travel, take pictures, and write a book about your adventures.

    September 5, 2008
    Reply
  2. pietyhill said:

    Yes, now let’s see… we’ll take off on a theme from a song by the Monkees… The Last Train To Boresville! Thanks for reading along… and, commenting.

    September 5, 2008
    Reply
  3. Trader Joes has some very good blueberries. I love their frozen ones on homemade waffles.

    Nothing beats freshly picked blueberries though. I think blueberries and strawberries are some of the things that help us realized how blessed we are to be alive. Two of my favorite things in life.

    September 7, 2008
    Reply
  4. pietyhill said:

    Ah, yes… those are the Trader Joe’s berries I’m talkin’ ’bout… check the bag and they will tell you where they are from. Wild blueberries from Maine (and that region) are tiny and very flavorful.

    We eat a lot of strawberries, fresh, from a stand on Highway 49 between Auburn and Grass Valley. We have learned that the best strawberries are found at stands identified by huge signs painted on plywood with many words misspelled in incomplete sentences, using questionable syntax.

    September 8, 2008
    Reply
  5. If I’m not mistaken, the Trader Joe’s here has 3 types – one frozen organic, one frozen from Oregon, and one fresh. I’ll have to check the bags.

    I’m in Walnut Creek now. Not sure if you know where that is. If not, it’s a suburb of Oakland, about 15-20 minutes east (assuming no traffic).

    Too funny about the strawberries. I’ve found the same thing. The best food often comes from good folks who flunked spelling.

    September 11, 2008
    Reply
  6. pietyhill said:

    Dude… been to Walnut Creek many times… they’ve sure gentrified the downtown… there’s even a *hush* Apple Store there.

    They have three different varieties of blueberries there? We’ve noticed that they will actually tell you where the berries are from on the bags… like they’re careful to get it right with each batch. Hey, try an experiment… I’d be interested in your findings. Do a blind test between the Oregon berries and the frozen ones from the northeast/Canada.

    Have you tried Trader Joe’s sushi? I have been meaning to for a while, but our nearest TJs is about 45 minutes away and we’re usually heading to a taqueria somewhere.

    September 12, 2008
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