Spending early July u-picking blueberries is a family tradition that goes back as far as I can remember. Growing up, our family of six would all pile into the car and head to the same local family farm to stock up on berries for the year. This year, not even the full pregnant belly of mine could keep me from continuing the tradition.
My friend Denise and I started out really early, at 6:30am, to beat the heat of the day. By 7:00am, we were already in the field filling our baskets. As mine got heavy, I would walk back to the weigh station to transfer my haul into larger cardboard boxes. My goal was fifty pounds of blueberries – enough to fill a shelf of our freezer for winter. With Denise’s help, I was able to bring home all fifty pounds.
Denise had discovered this wonderful farm in SW Portland last year, after calling dozens of local places looking for the best deal on organic blueberries. B&B Blueberry Farm is selling their u-pick berries for $2.00/pound, which is a buck cheaper than you’ll pay for organic almost anywhere else. We called ahead to make sure they were still harvesting, as you should do with pretty much any farm. Most of the more popular u-pick destinations are having to close abruptly to allow for ripening times since they are getting overrun with pickers.
When we picked, they were not open yet on Sundays for the season. The kind owner said we could still come out and just leave a check on the farm stand. We ended up seeing her at the end of our picking and she mentioned they would likely be open for the next three weeks. The farm grows several varieties of berries, but Blue Crop were the ripest and sweetest when we were there.
I couldn’t believe how quiet and peaceful the fields were, especially at this time of year when Portlanders are swarming nearly every berry farm in town. If you head out there, be warned that the signs are not great. Keep the address and GPS handy. You’ll see signs for their neighbor’s blueberry farm, but I don’t believe they are organically grown.
With a new baby due anytime, it felt like this outing was a homesteader’s version of a going-away party. A quiet and cool morning, out before most of the world was dressed for the day, talking with a good friend between berry bushes just felt like the perfect way to close one chapter of life before the next, more frenzied one begins. It’s not the last time you’ll catch me in a local field u-picking, but I can assure you the next time I will be less productive with a new baby in tow.