Photo credit: annethelibrarian; taken July 1, 2008 in Westland, MI. Used with permission, some rights reserved
It's just about blueberry picking season here near Ann Arbor and all over the state of Michigan.
There are two farms that I know about in easy driving distance of Ann Arbor. The Dexter Blueberry Farm is in Dexter on Beach Road north of Dexter-Chelsea Road; when I called yesterday they said about a week, so call ahead to (734)426-2900 to confirm. Last year they charged $1.35 per pound for U-Pick, and it was easy to fill a five pound bucket in a single session.
Note that the Main Street Bridge through Dexter is closed to eastbound traffic, so if you are heading back to Ann Arbor you'll go around downtown Dexter. See the Village of Dexter web site for details and a construction webcam.
Slightly farther away is The Blueberry Patch in Grass Lake, just east of Jackson. The berries are organic, and they use nets to keep away the birds.
The other part of the state where I know a bit of detail is in the southwestern corner (known as Michiana) near New Buffalo, MI, Michigan City IN and the surrounding area. I scanned in a list of Michiana blueberry picking farms when we were there last year, and that info should still be good. It's the closest Michigan berrypicking you'll get if you're coming from Chicagoland.
Leduc Blueberries near Kalamazoo has a collection of eight years worth of annual blueberry recipes (PDF), which include the usual bakes, crumbles, pies and the like plus a series of dinner salads like a blueberry lemon chicken salad.
Other blueberry crop news:
A report from Hammonton, New Jersey predicts an average New Jersey blueberry crop for 2008:
"The hot weather that we've been having has had some effects on the ripening and harvesting of our products, though the cooler-than-normal ground temperatures and, until recently, cool overnight temperatures have helped to somewhat mitigate the day heat," said William Walker of the New Jersey Department Agriculture's Jersey Fresh program. "The season was slow to begin, but we're now on a normal production schedule."
DeGrandchamp Farms predicts a good 2008 season:
As I write this article, the 2008 blueberry crop looks like it has the potential to be an excellent one. I believe a lot has to do with the excellent growing season last summer which produced good growth and bud set.
Wholesale prices for the fresh market were strong last year and should continue for the 2008 season. Demand for blueberries is strong for the processing market as more manufacturers are using blueberries in their product lines.
The USDA crop price report for the last three years for blueberries:
And Absolute Michigan has a Ready To Pick feature on blueberries with recipes and crop and grower info.
What I'm looking for in comments:
Have you gone blueberry picking recently, and how was it?
Where do you go wild (not cultivated) berry picking - if not precisely where, then at least the township?
What do you know about mechanical blueberry harvesters?
Have you ever used a blueberry rake, and is it easy to make one out of ordinary materials by hand?
What are your favorite blueberry recipes?
How do you preserve blueberries for February in Michigan when it's gray all the time?
What varieties of blueberry are good for growing in your yard, and what soil do you need?