Father’s Day is this weekend. What does that remind me of?? Blueberries! In Kansas City blueberries come into season right around Father’s Day. This is probably my second favorite item to pick, right behind strawberries. Blueberries are good for you and they taste great. They freeze well, which allows you to enjoy them all year. As we have said in other posts, we love to expose our kids to agriculture for many reasons. We have found a great family patch south of KC called The Berry Patch.
It is a little bit of a drive, but it is worth it. They will open this Saturday, June 14th from 9 am to noon. As the season progresses they are open more days and more hours. Typically they are open Tuesday through Friday 7 am- 9 pm and Saturday from 7 am to 3 pm.
The Berry Patch is located at 22509 State Line Road in Cleveland, MO 64734. There is no entrance fee and you pay for the blueberries by the pound. This is a family owned patch, and you can tell it by how they run the business. It is very friendly and they work hard to make it a good experience. The only negative I have is their website and Facebook are a little behind the times. (In fact today I can’t get their website to open.) They did post the start date on their Facebook page, and I am hoping that they update the picking report on their Facebook page like they have in previous years.
Pictures from last year’s trip!
Some tips for going to The Berry Patch.
- Don’t park in the first parking lot that you see. Try to get a spot closer to the house. If they are picking a far patch, you can drive down to another parking lot closer to the patch. We highly recommend driving to the other parking lot. You will not want to walk back after picking.
- Wear sunscreen – there is no shade.
- Bring water to drink.
- Bring a wagon to bring kids and the berries back to the store.
- Since it is a little ways south, bring a sack lunch with you or plan on going out to eat afterwards. Our family traditionally stops at Chick-Fil-A!!
Our favorite thing to do with blueberries is to freeze them. Then we use them all winter long in our smoothies, oatmeal and yogurt. The secret to freezing blueberries is to spread them out on a jelly roll pan, one layer thick. Do Not Wash Them! Washing them causes them to go mushy. Put the pan in the freezer. Then once they are hard you can put them in Ziploc bags and suck out the air to cut down on freezer burn. Or you can use a FoodSaver to do it for you.
Our second favorite thing is Blueberry Jam. I use Betty Crocker’s Freezer Jam recipe.
4 cups blueberries crushed
3 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 package of powdered fruit pectin.
Mix blueberries and sugar in a large bowl. Let it stand 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. Mix water and pectin in a 1 quart saucepan. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for 1 minute. Pour hot pectin mixture over the blueberry mixture, stir constantly for 3 minutes. Immediately spoon mixture into freezer containers, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Wipe the rim and seal. Let stand at room temperature for about 24 hours or until set. Store in freezer up to 6 months or in the refrigerator up to 3 weeks. Thaw frozen jam and stir before serving.
Family outings to U-pick patches are the source of many great memories for us. The blueberry patch is always a lot of fun, with a lot of delicious berries to show for it.
We’d like to try something new – what is your favorite blueberry recipe?