Sunday, July 17, 2005

Pungo Blueberries!! Yum!!!

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!
~ Robert Frost (1874-1963), U.S. poet. "Blueberries."
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Pungo blueberries! Just a 25 minute drive south is a family owned blueberry farm. The blueberry bushes are about seven feet high and loaded with berries. Many are ripe but enough are still developing and maturing so that each bush will produce for many weeks to come. We take our own buckets and rope to tie the bucket around our waists. Dad has his wide brimmed hat and long sleeve shirt on to protect against the UV of the hot summer sun. Nyssa has picked before but her visiting friend, Blount has not.

The bushes are protected from the birds by a blue netting and they are not amused. You can hear their squawking overhead as they see the prize but can't get to the dark blue berries. Dragonflys dart around under the nets and perch delicately on the limbs and a large moth rests upside down clinging to the netting overhead.

"Start on row 25 to the left and probably better to go towards the end of the row." We're off. I hear Nyssa telling her friend,"Instead of picking two or three and moving on to another bush, find one with a lot and just stay there", "You have to pull the higher branches down a little 'cause there are a lot up there", "Go for the bigger ones, they're sweeter and "You can eat some as you go along."

We pick and pick and pick and pick. It's hot and humid. I sweat, they sweat, we sweat and sweat and sweat ourselves essentially to nothing. We have between us three and one half buckets. That is more than enough. The berries will keep quite a while. They are in the low glycemic index group so Grandma can have them on her diabetic diet and they are rich in vitamins.

We could have bought a little pint of blueberries in the store; these probably are not that much cheaper. But the idea of picking them yourself, enjoying the eating while you pick and the picture of blueberry muffins, blueberry pancakes, blueberry pie, blueberries in oatmeal and other possibilities in your mind's eye is just BETTER THAN STORE BOUGHT!

Yes, yesterday we were hot and dehydrated. Today that was forgotten as we sat relishing the blueberry pancakes and muffins for breakfast and the luscious pie for supper, our stomachs way past full and our tongues stained that tell-tale berry blue. Like Violet Beauregarde in the original Willy Wonka, I thought we might be on the verge of turning into large blueberries and rolling down the street.

And guess what! We still have two and a half buckets of blueberries left!

Nyssa and her friend "Blount"

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