I took another day off of work today in the further pursuit of berry goodness. I'm starting to like this taking-time-off-work thing; maybe I'll make it a summer tradition to play hookie and pick fruit. My quest for the day took the form of two things: blueberries and black raspberries. I had planned to visit two different pick-ur-own farms: Hidden Valley Fruit Farm for the blueberries and Stokes Berry Farm for the black raspberries.
Hidden Vally Fruit Farm is located in quaint Lebanon, OH, about a 40 minute drive from our house. I had called earlier this week and they promised they'd be open for u-pick blueberries, but when I got there this morning I was informed that due to slim pickings, they had shut down the u-pick. They did have quite a bit of already-picked blueberries from their patch, so I acquiesced and bought several quarts. I wasn't planning on making blueberry jam - more just for fresh eating and possibly some freezing. For dessert tonight I ended up making an old-fashioned blueberry cobbler that was AMAZING:
(Thanks mom for passing down this recipe!)
The first stop on my journey completed, I then headed 20 minutes east to Stokes Berry Farm. I can't seem to stay away from this place. Today was much cooler than my previous trip - perfect weather for picking. Let me say this, I don't think I've ever seen black raspberries so nice as they were today. All it took was some tough skin to push aside the brambles and the plump clusters of raspberries were right there, nestled quietly.
I ended up picking a little over four quarts, just enough to make a batch of black raspberry jam.
When I arrived back home, I immediately started doing up the jam. Same procedure as a few weeks ago. I ended up with 15 half pints of deep, winey, lush blackberry jam. I'm waiting for the jam to set up over night and will be taste testing tomorrow.