For the last few years, I’ve managed to get out to Portland during blueberry season. Not that I went out there only to pick blueberries, but it was always a highlight of the trip, as my family has been going out to the same U-pick farm on Sauvie Island for the last 15 years or so.
This year I went out to Portland towards the beginning of May, which meant that I missed out on blueberry season (as well as the raspberries that grow along my parents’ back fence). I knew that there were places to pick around here, but I felt almost disloyal to the Blueberry Patch (slightly unreasonable, I know) to consider picking anywhere else.
So I thought about picking and didn’t do it. Many nights, I had a plan that I’d get up the next morning and go pick, only to sleep later than I had intended and put it off for another day. A couple of days ago I realized that if I didn’t do it soon, I would totally miss the season and so I made plans with my friend Seth to go pick.
We headed out this morning, and after only a few wrong turns, made our way to Mood’s Farm Market in Mullica Hill, New Jersey. They weighed our buckets, handed over a picking permit, said to turn left at the #4 sign and to pick towards the woods. The bushes were pretty picked over, but we discovered that crouching down and looking up through the branches often revealed hidden pockets of blue gold. We picked for about an hour and then spent a lovely half hour stretched out in the tall grass, by a small stream, at the base of the woods.
The picture is of me, showing off my blue-stained hands.
with a follow-up of your blueberry recipes on Slashfood please!
Great one…I LOVE blueberries, and the stained fingers, even better. Somehow blueberries remind me of childhood…I guess finding them in the wild. Does that happen anymore? I’m not sure my kids could even identify a bb that wasn’t in a package from Acme.
You might like this NPR segment on hunting an interview with Mildred Rowe, a fellow fan of berry-hunting:
Great Blueberry picking/eating bike ride:
Well, almost ANY bike ride around Portland, OR, or the Pacific NW will yield berries, but I actually lead a ride of fellow planning students along Dairy Creek Rd just north of North Plains for this purpose. Lovely, flat ride into foothills, with berries along the way.
Washington County north and west of Hillsboro/Beaverton, anywhere outside UGB- just awesome scenic countryside!
Wow – you were right down the road from me! Moods is great. You shouldmake a point of going back in the fall when the apple cider is out. It’s the best!
Of course, the real blueberry capital of the world is in Hammonton, NJ – a little further ride for you, but during the season it’s worth the trip.
There’s Tomasello Winery nearby and a little market called Bagliani’s that has some great fresh food.
I’m headed to Anchorage in a few weeks, just in time for their blueberry season. I’m happy to be staying with friends instead of in a hotel, that way I have access to a kitchen. Blueberry Cobbler, here I come!
Actually, I need to correct myself, for the record-
I meant to say “Blackberries” when describing the Portland area.
The only blueberries I’ve picked where during a bike ride to a NJ U Pick-Em place.
Pat, I’m planning to post a few blueberry recipes on Slashfood sometime today or tomorrow.
Frank, I’ve never encountered blueberries in the wild. Out west they are definitely more of a cultivated plant.
Tom, I heard that segment when it first aired and absolutely loved it.
Anthony, I’m sort of jealous that you live so close to Mood’s, because I’m now in love with that place. I bought an overflowing quart of marked nectarines for $2 there. The produce bargains were just amazing! I’ll try to get back out for the cider in the fall.
e, I’ve always wanted to go to Alaska and now I know that I’ll need to aim for blueberry season. I think I should do all traveling to coincide with good produce times.
Paul, I figured that’s what you meant, because I never found wild blueberries in Portland, but there were always tons of blackberries. Did anyone ever tell you that you shouldn’t eat wild blackberries that are right by a road, because they can absorb car exhaust as they grow, which is not something you want to ingest. Because of that piece of advice, we were only ever allowed to eat blackberries in the wild if they were in fairly isolated or remote places.
Actually, I thought you came off pretty easy there in regards to blueberry stains..
And the photo of the colander today with the berries was quite nice…