Time to celebrate the local blueberry harvest
By Lori O'Brien
Blueberries are now in peak season across the valley and three local families invite area residents to celebrate the harvest during blueberry festivals and tastings early in August.
Joyce and Leon Ripley of Maple Corner Farm recently hosted their third West Granville Blueberry Festival at 448 North Lane in Granville. West Granville Blueberries is a division of Maple Corner Farm and has operated for more than 40 years.
"It is a celebration of the blueberry season and an opportunity for families to enjoy the sunshine and fresh country air while experiencing in a family fun day, picking cultivated blueberries and learning the many uses for them," said Joyce Ripley during an interview with Reminder Publications.
The Ripleys have two acres of cultivated blueberries on their farm that equates to more than 600 blueberry bushes.
"We have pick-your-own blueberries daily, 10 to 5, thru mid-September," said Ripley, adding she encourages families to come out to the fields to experience the fun.
"We enjoy talking to people and educating them about blueberries and the many ways to use them," she added.
For persons in search of an easy cookie recipe with blueberries, Ripley is sharing one of her favorites, Blueberry Drop Cookies, with Reminder readers.
Blueberry Drop Cookies
1 cup blueberries
2 cups sifted flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1/2 cup milk
Wash and drain blueberries. Sift together flour, salt and baking powder. Cream shortening until soft, gradually beat in sugar, then egg and grated lemon rind. Add flour mixture alternately with milk, beating until smooth after each addition. Lightly fold in blueberries. Drop from teaspoons on greased baking sheet and bake in moderate oven at 350 degrees for eight to 12 minutes. The recipe makes 30 cookies.
Ripley promises even more mouth-watering recipes during the two-day event.
For more information contact the Ripleys at (413) 357-8829, or the Blueberry Phone with daily picking information, (413) 357-6697.
In addition to blueberries, the Ripleys offer maple syrup, maple products, jams and jellies year round at Maple Corner Farm on Beech Hill Road. For more information, visit www.farmfresh.org.
For area residents traveling through the hilltowns, the Kelso Homestead at 207 Bromley Road, Chester, is also a blueberry destination as is the Chester Hill Winery on Lyon Hill Road.
The Sullivan family of the Chester Hill Winery also has a wealth of recipes that features blueberries and this is one of their favorites which they have posted to their Web site www.blueberrywine.com.
Fresh Blueberry Cobbler
4 cups blueberries
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dash of salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine blueberries and lemon juice in a 9"-square baking dish coated with cooking spray; stir gently, and set aside. Combine flour and next four ingredients (flour through salt) in a bowl; make a well in the center of the mixture. Combine oil, vanilla and egg whites; stir well with a whisk. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Drop dough by spoonfuls onto blueberry mixture to form eight dumplings. Combine three tablespoons sugar and cinnamon, sprinkle over dumplings. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until filling is bubbly and dumplings are lightly browned.
Both farms are two of the many Be A Local Hero Buy Locally Grown participants that
are featured through Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA).
Later this summer, the Red Fire Farm in Granby will host its popular Tomato Festival on Aug. 25 with workshops, demonstrations, live music, samples of heirloom and hybrid tomato varieties and more.
For information on upcoming Local Hero festivals, visit www.buylocalfood.com.