U-pick blueberries!

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I just had the best Friday night! How great is summer! We piled in our car with a friend of ours and went for a drive. Our first task was to pick up our awesome July chickens from Link’d Hearts Ranch just outside of Palouse. Then, we had a beautiful drive out to 1811 Old River Rd. to Sexton Farm just outside of Harvard Idaho. I heard about this farm, because the Moscow Food Co-op has organized a “crop mob” with Sexton farm for tomorrow, July 26th. They are looking for volunteers to help the wonderful Mr. Dallas Sexton pick his delicious blueberries.You can help with his harvest during the crop mob, buy his blueberries at the Tuesday Grower’s market in Moscow or go out there yourself, like we did and enjoy picking your favorite varieties of Dallas’s “no-spray” blueberries for $3/lb on his beautiful and peaceful farm.

I have great memories of picking berries as a child, where more of them went into my mouth than into my bucket. It was lots of fun to pick them as an adult too. We enjoyed picking our favorite varieties and chatting with Dallas and each other, while watching the evening come on in the beautiful country setting and listening to the Sexton Farm’s chickens and ducks bedtime routine.

I love blueberries, more than most things, possibly even more than chocolate (if you can believe that)! The best part about blueberries, is that they are one of the top “superfoods,” because they are loaded with antioxidants. Blueberries are also low fat, high fiber and a great way to get vitamin C and manganese. Research is also being done into how they support heart health, and fight cancer and other diseases. My grandpa’s Dr. even recommended he eat dark-colored fruits and berries, like blueberries, to help with his arthritis and macular degeneration.

Surprisingly, they are not on the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list (for prioritizing what to buy organic if you are on a budget), with the other similarly thin-skinned fruits and berries. Though, the no-spray option from Sexton farms, I consider a real “win”!

So, what are we going to do with our 15lbs of blueberries you ask?

We are undoubtedly going to eat many of them fresh (in fact we already have!). Breakfast this morning is gluten-free vegan oatcakes topped with blueberry sauce, with Shane using one of his favorite recipes from the Thug Kitchen cookbook. Don’t forget that they can also go on french toast. I think that sometime today they will also make their way into some gluten-free vegan blueberry-almond/walnut scones. Another vision for their immediate consumption is using some of that blueberry sauce to top some grilled salmon for dinner. The sauce and whole berries can also go onto ice cream, or fresh goat cheese (the goat cheese below is from the Zachariason farm, but could also come from the 12-mile Market) – and bonus points for having gluten-free, dairy-free cookies and a chocolate drizzle with your dessert!

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They are also great to just wash, throw in a ziploc bag and freeze, for later use in baked goods, smoothies, sauces and even throwing some of the frozen berries in the bottom of a glass of club soda for a quick and easy summer “mocktail.” These berries were actually cheaper pound for pound than the organic blueberries imported to my favorite warehouse store from Chile – so, that’s cool, though I wish we still had our little apartment-sized upright freezer!

Since we don’t have as much freezer space as I would like, we will dry some in our dehydrator, again for future use, similar to that of the frozen berries. Dried berries will also be used on top of salads and in cooked oatmeal or homemade granola.

They can also be canned (or frozen) as sauce or jam, or just canned whole.

If you love blueberries as much as I do, you can appreciate for how exciting it is to find them locally. Especially with the good price and wonderful experience and connection that comes with picking them yourself – especially in the good company of friends!

20150724_203258What is your favorite thing to do with blueberries? Where do you like to find them in the Palouse-Clearwater region? Do you grow some yourself and get to play with soil pH to make them happy? Please share in the comments below –

Always with gratitude- especially to Shane McFarland for helping to clean up the messes I make!

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