This is my favorite time of year for fruit. Blueberries are just coming into season and local peaches and various stone fruit are all in abundance in the northeast. Yes, we can purchase these year-round, but the local peaches, plums, nectarines all taste so much better than the ones that come out of cold storage. And blueberries can be downright watery at other times of the year, too. So, knowing they are local and seasonal makes me feel better on a morale level and smug on an intellectual level. But let’s be honest, I just prefer the taste.
I visited a greenmarket this morning and the farm stand had plums in every color under the sun – from varying shades of the traditional purple, to yellow to red to pink. These 2 lonely fellows are all that remain from 2 pounds of mixed plums and peaches purchased this morning,. Here they are in all their glory – small, uneven in shape and even a little bruised. As you can see, they look nothing like the perfect specimens (in appearance only!) available year-round at the market, and thankfully don’t resemble them in taste either. Yum!
So, let’s talk about growing blueberries. Hubs and I have made 4 attempts so far in 4 years to grow blueberries on our own. And 4 failures. Kinda sad for a bush and fruit that are native to our region, don’t you think? We were lulled into thinking they didn’t need much sun because they’re natives (wrong), we were careless in the soil we planted them in, and most recently, we had signs of success, but then failed to protect. Back in May we had little green berries growing beautifully on our 2 humble bushes. But they proved to be irresistible for the bird population and were gone before they had a chance to turn from green to red to pink to blue. Foiled again. But now we’ve got a 3 step plan and gosh darnit, 2013 will be our year for backyard blueberries. I hope…
I snapped this picture at the 2012 New Marlborough Garden tour last weekend. The Gays live in New Marlborough and have a beautiful property in the foothills of East Mountain State Forest, which they kindly opened up to neighbors during the tour. They’ve created a delightful garden in a wooded setting featuring shade-loving plants, a stone pond loaded with Koi goldfish and many stone sculptures crafted from stones on their property. I loved exploring their veggie patch and came across a creative way to protect blueberries pictured below. You must put up netting to keep away the birds, and this can often be unsightly. Here they’ve created tents using skinny tree branches and it looks almost natural. Ingenious and aesthetically pleasing. So, Hubs will be trying this next year (step 3 of Project Blueberry). I’ll write about steps 1 & 2 later. Non-linear, I know.