Here's a post originally written May 28, 2015. It's one of my favorites so I figured I'd include it for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!
Every summer when I was a kid until I was probably twelve (my mom deemed me capable then of staying at home with my younger sister and not killing her or burning the house down), I stayed with my grandma Doris and granddaddy Donald (my mom's parents). We had all sorts of adventures, but there were certain things I could always count on: we would go stay at Mrs. Bea Lamb's beach house at some point, granddaddy would take me to the tobacco market to see how Uncle Pat's tobacco sold (the best smell ever!), my Aunt Alice and Uncle Allen and Cousin Adam would come home for about a week from Europe (and all the rest of my out of town family would come in and it would be a huge party, loved it), we'd probably get enlisted to pull mustard out of Uncle Pat's field (to this day if I see it I pull it), and when the blueberries were ripe we had to pick them (I am literally crying writing this because they are some of the best memories I have of being a kid, and for those of you who don't know I lost my sister eight years ago in a car accident, and those are what I have left of her. Okay, time to dry it up. Who knew blueberries were so emotional? This is supposed to be a funny blog.)
I don't have memories of picking strawberries, but I distinctly remember picking peas, butter beans, and blueberries. Grandma had these old ice cream buckets (grandma wasted nothing, she'd buy those gallons of vanilla or Neapolitan or orange sherbet and vanilla swirl and make us kids ice cream cones all summer, and then save the buckets to use around the house) that we'd strap to ourselves with old belts (sadly no picture, this was before cell phones guys) and she'd send us out to forage over the five or six bushes she had in her yard. We hated it. This was before the time of iPods or iPhones and earbuds. We could have used a Walkman, you know, with a cassette tape and those earphones with the big black sponge headphones, but we were kids and we were supposed to have imaginations and not rely on outside things to keep us entertained (saying you were bored was worse than saying a four letter word to my grandma, and it is to me even now. With everything there is to do in the world you're bored? Go outside.) But everyone else (come on, you know I'm picky. Do you really think I eat blueberries?) loved the rewards. Blueberry pie was one of my sister's favorites. As soon as I could get in the kitchen I made blueberry muffins (I always made six for me without blueberries. They are still my ultimate favorites and I would die for one right now). I made them as long as we had blueberries and even after because we'd freeze them. Nothing freezes better than blueberries (just pick the trash out and freeze. NO WASHING!)
We put blueberries in the CSA boxes this week that we got from McFarms Blueberries in Seven Springs (talk about how someone does it, they have five kids, most of which are younger than five and two are newborn twins, I'm stressed for them just writing that!). That's what got me started on this jaunt down memory lane. I love it when we can put two fruits in a box, and especially two berries. This year we have more members than ever and even though I swear I will have a nervous breakdown every Tuesday, I kinda love it at the same time. It's a logistical nightmare but that's what I like doing, organizing people. It will get a little less stressful too when the strawberries are over, which they are almost. But that's another post for another time. For now, lets savor the blueberries.
Here's my grandma's blueberry muffin recipe:
1/3 cup oil
¾ cup milk
1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
½ cup sugar
¾ t salt
2 ½ t baking powder
¼ t nutmeg
1 cup blueberries
Mix and bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. If you have someone in your house that doesn’t care for blueberries (like me!), they are delicious without them too!
***Update*** And I'm crying again writing this! This is one of my personal favorite all-time posts. I lost this grandfather the winter after this post was written, and this grandmother can no longer call my name due to dementia, (I’ve also lost my fathers parents, though with my parents being divorced I didn’t spend as much time with them growing up as my mothers parents) so it means even more to me now. I love thinking about those times I got to spend with them and I am so appreciative now because I use the skills they taught me so much. I can't thank them in person, even if I tried with my grandma she would not understand why I was thanking her, so I'd like to thank them now. If you still have your grandparents around give them a call, give them a hug. Maybe make them some blueberry muffins and carry over. McFarms is selling them at the Farm Credit Farmers Market at the Maxwell Center, Thurs - Sat, but they won't last long! We transplanted some bushes we got from the family of the late, great Alan Plummer, but alas they did not survive the drought we suffered last May - July. It's still a goal of ours to plant some bushes so we can have you-pick blueberries. Our strawberry season this year was so pitiful we've only been able to include them twice in the CSA boxes and even then they were so little I'm determined to make up for it by sourcing all the fruit I can. Everything is coming off a couple weeks early this year, which is making it hard to choose which fruits to include. Blueberries, blackberries, and peaches are already in season all together. Now being a person with a discerning palate I'm not a fan of either of those fruits, but in my imagination that trifecta sounds amazing. So if you're not in the CSA (and why not?! If you want to join message me!) stop by a farmers market or roadside stand for the fresh fruit deliciousness available now.