Vicki Briganti – CW50 Writer / Producer / Editor
After lunch on a lazy Sunday afternoon, my family and I were sitting around the kitchen table in Howell when my 11-year-old nephew Carl informed me that we were going blueberry picking. Ugh. Blueberry picking? I stomped my foot and sighed like a hormonal teenager. Couldn’t we play a game of bocce? Or croquet? Or table tennis? Anything but boring blueberry picking. My 15-year-old nephew Paul reassured me. “It’s more fun than it sounds,” he said.
My nephews and my dad had gone blueberry picking the summer before when it was 100 degrees. I would have refused to participate, but on this day, it was low humidity and 85 degrees. I lathered up with sunscreen as my mom commented “Finally!” since I’ve resisted proper skin protection my whole life. The boys grabbed their hats and off we went.
Hazen’s Farm is on a dirt road off Peavy Road on the outskirts of Howell, a few miles from my parent’s house. They sell jams, jellies, and syrup along with U-Pick peaches, red raspberries, and 25 acres of blueberry bushes. When we arrived, a mature little girl greeted us with big blue buckets. “The best berries are in the back,” she said.
We paired up as we often do when we play games at the house. Dad and Paul worked their way to the back to find the “best berries” while Carl and I stayed closer to the main path. The blueberries were big and ripe and blue and delicious. We could shake an entire branch and succulent berries would fall into our bucket. We kept discovering more and more excellent berries to drop into the bucket. The sun was hot, but I found the task to be relaxing. Just as Paul had forecasted, it was a fun activity to share with the family.
After about 30 minutes, we went back to the front to weigh our blueberries. For about five pounds, it cost $8. I like blueberries and often buy them at the grocery store. You know how sometimes there are rotten ones mixed in the container? These U-Pick berries are fresh and bursting with flavor. Bruised or bad? You picked ‘em. You only have yourself to blame.
It’s been non-stop blueberry snacking joy since our outing. My dad was amazed we had picked five pounds, but I don’t think it was enough. I read an article on msn.com about the best and worst foods for a diet. One of the best? Blueberries. The write-up mentions that all fruits are great for diets thanks to their water content and key antioxidants and vitamins. Blueberries, however, are a true standout—studies show they may help rev metabolism and lower blood pressure. Best-and-Worst-Diet-Foods
Hazen’s Farm is family owned and family-friendly. We stopped to chat with the owner. “This is a good year for blueberries,” said Tony Buchholz. “Blueberries don’t need a lot of attention; they only need an inch of water a week.”
He said with the many days above 85 degrees we’ve experienced this summer, peaches won’t be available to pick this season. However, red raspberries and blueberries can be picked Tuesday-Sunday from 8am-6pm until mid August.
To find out more about fresh fruit picking, go to hazensfarm.com.
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