An Afternoon in the Blueberries

At our house, we try to stay local whenever we can.

Eat Local, Shop Local, Adventure Local.

A much needed day away from work allowed for some free time on a stunning Friday afternoon, so I took to the county road and spent a few hours in the quiet, warm, rows of deliciously plump blueberries at Teddie’s Berries in Olympia, Washington (right off littlerock road).  Teddie’s offers several long rows of blueberries for the picking. The farm also is home to Black River Winery, of which I did not partake unfortunately as I was there on a mission for berries only. (not to say there won’t be another visit out someday…) Back to the berries. They are plump, sweet, and ready for eating.  This season’s rates are $1.30 per lb for U-Pick and $2.30 for prepicked berries.  It was well worth my $1 savings per pound for a few quiet hours out in the blueberry rows. Not to mention, the pure joy associated with pulling a warm berry straight off the bush to make sure that bush was sweet enough to pick…This was a perfect summer outing, and my only regret is that I didn’t bring a group to enjoy the fun (and maybe missing out on a wine tasting).

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One of the few

Today I spent some time in Puyallup, Washington taking in the last of a dying tradition. Puyallup Valley used to be known as the premier place to grow bulbs for tulips and daffodils.  The street signs in town clearly indicate a proud herritage of Daffodil Farms.  I visited one of the last two daffodil farms in the area, which has decided to call it quits after generations (90 years!) of farming.  The area is sprawling and the farm will most likely be purchased for futher development.  When walking to the main storefront of Van Lierop’s, many extra things are for sale above and beyond flowers.  I managed to pick up 3- 80 year old bulb boxes.  They will gain new life as garden boxes for my greens gardent this summer.  Plows, buckets, wheel barrows and miscelaneous farm equiptment have hand priced tags.

The fields are still blooming. When I romanticize about fields of flowers- I see rows and rows of golden yellow blooms. This is not the case at Van Lierop’s, as the flowers are picked before they bloom. I managed to find a small batch that had survived the daily cut, that are tucked in rows of green overlooked by Mt. Rainier. I will get my fill of endless blooms in the coming weeks up near Mt. Vernon I suppose.

Although an era is ending for Van Lierop’s Bulb farm, they take pride in their flowers and are clearly loved by the community.  Perhaps who ever purchases the farm will continue the legacy…

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Small Town Cider Press

This weekend we had the pleasure of attending a Small Town Cider Pressing Party at Ritter Farms. It is another reminder of how much I miss my hometown roots.  I wish that everyone could experience this fall ritual that really brings a community together. We started by stopping by my family’s orchard to pick up a couple of boxes of organic apples. Then, like everyone else with an abundance of fruit, happily dumped them into the pools of water waiting to rinse and prepare the apples for pressing. They are sliced to fit into the grinder, pushed through and transferred to the pressing bin. After several spins, the pressing screw will condense the  shredded apples down, and what is squeezed is the finished amber-colored cider. Most left with a beautiful bottle of cider to share with their families, along with the memories of this tradition.