Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pickin' blueberries

We've been so busy for the last 6 weeks picking blueberries on our farm. We picked about 70 gallons. (Now think about the size of a blueberry. It takes 1 1/2 hours to pick a gallon.) We sold most of them, made blueberry cobblers, and eat them fresh. They're so sweet this year, perhaps because of the 90-plus degree heat every day. But we're relieved they're gone for this year. Tiring and hot work. We prefer buyers pick their own, but not many are willing to put forth the effort anymore. It's easier for them to pay somebody to do the work. Figs are starting to ripen and looks like tons on the tree, if the birds will allow. I'd like to make several jars of fig preserves to have for my Fig Preserve Cake that's so good. I don't have any now because we got zero figs last year due to hornets taking up residence in the fig bush. And hornets are not like other bees; they'll fight you if you try to go along about your business. They refuse to be ignored. In September we'll have muscadines (a southern grape) and they too make absolutely delicious jelly. William has been sharing okra with us and nothing beats a fresh pan of fried okra. It's not summer without fried okra. And of course the obligatory fresh sliced tomatoes. We've picked tons off 4 - you read it right, 4 - plants. One day we got 2 5-gal. buckets full. I froze and canned them for later soup, chili, etc. use. Again, all the difference in the world in store-bought ("vine ripened" HA!) tomatoes and picked ripe off the plant at home. We have the Parks Whopper variety that I grow from seed, starting February 14 in the basement on a hot box. A viable seed given heat and moisture has no choice but to sprout and grow. I did grow some late Better Boy variety because I found the seed in the basement. Just now starting to bloom. We'll see if this was a good idea. But I'm always trying new things, wondering what to do next.