It’s hard to find another fruit as healthy and nutritious as blueberries. In addition to being healthy and nutritious, blueberries are one of the easiest fruits to pick yourself. Since we are all seeking experiences in life, we decided to pick our blueberries rather than buying them at the farmers market or store.
I searched “pick your own farms” and landed on a site which listed farms in my area. From this list, I looked for certified organic farms because blueberries have a high pesticide residue score according to the site EWG.org.
Mike and I decided on a farm called Hybridoma Organic Fruit Farm. They were promoting National Blueberry Month by offering homemade blueberry pizza from their very own pizza oven and blueberry waffles. We were sold.
This family-owned 50-acre farm did not disappoint! The first thing you notice are the solar panels, more about this later, then the rows and rows of high bush blueberries. We headed straight for the berry shed which is surrounded by a wood deck. This is where the pizza oven sits and it was calling my name. I loved that the tile work spelled Blueberry.
We grabbed our bucket, Eva, one of the owners, advised us to start off towards the blueberry fields on the left.
The blueberries were not hard to find. The bushes were filled with ripe and unripe berries. We picked for about 45 minutes and ended up with 3lbs of plump blue little berries. We had to summon lots of will power not to eat them as we were picking.
Whether it’s having your own fruit/vegetable garden, which I had growing up, or going to a pick your own farm to gather the food yourself, it really does give you a sense of accomplishment to work for your food. We felt very proud of our 3lbs of freshly picked blueberries.
We scarfed down blueberry waffles and blueberry pizza (they also offer savory pies). Both were delicious. We can't wait to go back.
The next decision was what to make with our blueberries. “Blueberry muffins,” Mike said. I wanted to make something that would last longer and since Mike recently purchased a canning system we settled on blueberry preserves.
We had a canning cookbook and when I looked up blueberry preserves and saw the amount of sugar the recipe called for I was appalled. The general rule of thumb is 1 cup of sugar for each cup of fruit. I love sugar but I also know it is one of the worst things you can put in your body. So once again I turned to the world wide web to seek out a recipe for a low sugar option. I found Pomona’s Universal Pectin which is pectin used for canning low sugar jams and jellies. Yay! For 10 cups of blueberries, the recipe called for 1 cup of maple syrup. A huge difference.
Our local organic grocer sold this type of pectin. The next thing I know we were making and canning blueberry preserves. If you have ever tried canning you know that the lids need to “pop” to ensure a proper seal. It took over an hour for all the lids to “pop” and each time they did we celebrated. Our 3 pounds of blueberries yielded 8 ½pints of preserves.
More about the farm. It’s become our new favorite place!
Hybridoma Organic Fruit Farm is very family-friendly with lots of picnic tables, shaded areas and a nice playground for the kiddos. Most Saturday’s they have live music by Jon Zorn.
I spoke with Eva and she told me “It’s is a wonderful organic circle of life happening on the farm.” Their mission is to educate people of all ages about the workings of an organic fruit farm. They rely solely upon the sun and the rain. Everything they need for the farm comes from the farm, the mulch, the compost, the wood, etc. The small house and berry stand run on solar energy alone and a smaller house on the farm runs on 70-80% solar power. Pretty impressive.
They have apple and pear trees and have planted elderberries, black currants, white currants, strawberries and will soon be planting pumpkins. The organic blackberries will be in season and ready for picking in about 2 weeks. You’ll know where to find us!
Nutritional Information for Blueberries
Blueberries pack a punch when it comes to nutrition. They rank high for most nutrients per calorie and their antioxidant value is the highest of any fruit. Why is this important? Antioxidants protect our cells against damage from free radicals which are linked to many diseases.
Blueberry Nutrition Facts:
0 g of cholesterol
1.1 g of protein
0.49 g of fat
21.45 g of carbohydrate
3.6 g of dietary fiber
14.74 g of total sugars
24% of daily vitamin C; 5% of daily vitamin B6, 36% of daily vitamin K
8 Health Benefits of Blueberries
Great for your bones. Blueberries are a source of iron (0.41mg/serving), phosphorous (18mg/serving), calcium (9mg/serving), magnesium (9mg.serving), manganese, zinc (0.24mg/serving) and vitamin K. All great for keeping bones strong.
Great for your skin. The vitamin C in blueberries aids in the collagen’s ability to help prevent skin damage and to make our skin smooth. Just 1 cup of blueberries contains 24% of the daily recommended intake of Vitamin C.
Great for lowering blood pressure. This claim has some contradicting studies but since blueberries contain almost no sodium, a big factor in lowering blood pressure it certainly can’t hurt. There are some studies that show low levels of potassium, calcium and magnesium are associated with high blood pressure. Blueberries contain all three which could help increase these levels.
Great for diabetes. Consuming a high fiber diet can help those with type 1 diabetes lower blood glucose levels and can help type 2 diabetes improve blood sugar, lipid and insulin levels. The fiber content in 1 cup of blueberries is 3.6 grams.
Great for the heart. The vitamins, minerals and fiber in blueberries plus the absence of cholesterol all play a role in decreasing the risk of heart disease.
Great for digestion. The fiber in blueberries can help prevent constipation and maintain a healthy digestive system. Fiber also helps with feeling full longer.
Great for mental health. Eating blueberries can slow down cognitive damage in older women. Studies also show improvement in short-term memory as well as motor coordination.
Great for your DNA. Blueberries contain 9mg of folate per serving. Folate plays a role in the synthesis and repair of DNA.
One thing to note. People who take blood thinners need to be mindful of their vitamin K intake as it plays a role in blood clotting and can affect these drugs.
Click here for a few sweet and savory blueberry recipes from a past blog post.