It's how I was raised. During the spring, summer, and autumn seasons, we planted, tended, gathered, and put away food that would carry us through the cold winter months. I do believe I was meant to have lived in the 1800s... a Little House on the Prairie/Laura Ingalls Wilder existence, as I thrive on living off the land and using what I have. Making do and finding joy and contentment in it. So, when my friend Connie told me the (chemical-free) blueberries were ripe at Pine Winder Blueberries, I scrapped my plans for the next morning and trucked on over.
The sweet-spirited young mother, who was assigned to pick berries on the other side of my row, was as colorful as the blueberries hanging thick on the branches.
The peaceful solitude of the patch was interrupted occasionally by the fleeting buzz of a fly, a gentle breeze flapping the streamers tied to a wide-eyed balloon scarecrow, and an intermittent loud-speaker recording of a not-so-foreboding, at least to human ears, bullyish bird call meant to deter meeker birds from pecking more than their share of succulent berries.
In three hours, I had picked two five-quart buckets @ $19.50/bucket. Forgoing washing and scattered on a rimmed baking sheet, to prevent a solid clump post-freezing, the berries roll freely as marbles. It'll be a breeze to measure the amount needed for blueberry muffins, pancakes, and scones on a cold January morning. Now, let's be real here. I'd proudly lay claim to the freezer bag labels, however they are clip art I happily discovered online then inserted text boxes to add the picking date and berry patch name. Not necessary, but how fun it life makes!
Picking details: Pine Winder Blueberries is located three miles west of Pine River (Minnesota) on County Road 2, then watch for their sign directing you to turn right (north) and travel a short bit down a country gravel road to their driveway on the left. This year, the patch was open for picking July 20-30, 2017, which isn't a long window of time. That's how blueberries are. You can request to be on their email list so that you get notification of picking dates in 2018, or follow their Facebook page for updates at the beginning of July.