A Blueberry Fourth of July!

We just got home from a lovely dinner hosted by Ben and Sue Schwartz where they featured our blueberries in three of the dishes they served tonight. The food was delicious and the berries were used in such a creative way; I will take note of their recipes for the future use of our fruit!

The dinner salad was spinach, toasted hazelnuts, blueberries and feta cheese with a light vinaigrette. I’m not sure if there was anything else? It was lovely.

IMG_4514Then, they served a savory blueberry sauce for the grilled salmon that was just incredibly tasty and a very creative use of the berries. I will have to get this recipe from Sue and see if I can post it if anyone is interested. YUM!

IMG_4519As a finale, they served a most wonderful blueberry pie. Sue had seen a section in the NYTimes the previous day which was all about pies and had followed some suggestions for using cornstarch as the pie thickener and also leaving half of the berries whole and uncooked. It was really a great pie, so I will have to remember that as well to try in the future. Thanks, Ben and Sue for hosting us and making such great use of our produce!

IMG_4521What a contrast in weather between this year and last! We were in a record heat wave and drought at this point last year and now are experiencing record flooding and unusually cool temps! Although we are relieved of the job of frantic watering and moving hoses around, we are now overwhelmed with rain. When we look back at harvest numbers from last year, we are behind on almost all fronts except for the berries.

That said, we have been able to keep up on the consumption end of things. We have been picking a couple of peppers and squash each day and can manage to turn them into a veggie dish for dinner with ease. The lettuces and scallions are under control as well and we enjoy getting to use them nightly.  Today was the first green bean and tomato harvest which was modest but there is a promise of lots more to come! Dave is always focused on the traditional harvest dates for certain crops, so it is with great fan fare that he can say he was able to harvest the first ripe tomatoes today.

IMG_4507With the threat of so much produce clogging our current freezer space, we bought a new upright freezer yesterday and were able to haul it home from the local Sears store.

I started looking for one of these freezers a couple of months ago and found out that they are not as popular an item as they once were for American families. One of my appliance salesmen said he had not sold one in over 15 years! Wow! I grew up with one in the basement of my parent’s house since they would buy half of a butchered cow each year and have it freezer wrapped to feed the family with convenience. My dad and brother were also trout fishermen, so the freezer would hold their seasonal catch as well.

We are delighted to have an upright (vs. chest) freezer now but we had some obstacles to overcome. Thank goodness it fit into Dave’s new pick up truck! Although his BMW was lovely, it wasn’t the perfect ride for a farmer like Dave! Notice the license plates!

IMG_3819This freezer weighed 240lbs and Dave and I were not quite up to the challenge of getting it into the basement ourselves. I called upon our resident deer hunter, Andy, who is one of my favorite carpenters. He brought a friend along at the end of the work day and they were able to transport this big box down to the basement for us. Of course they wanted no $ but we shared a beer, some laughs and plied them with fresh picked blueberries and some strawberry jam. Dave managed to sneak some $ into their trucks before they left.

There isn’t an electric receptacle in the basement exactly where we would like to plug in the freezer, so our electrician, Rich Wood, will make a house call next week. Of course, we will need to add this unit to the generator so that if we lose power, we do not lose our produce!

IMG_4512It is exciting to be able to load this unit up with our summer crops for our winter months of enjoyment. Happy Fourth of July!

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