Blueberries All Year!

Posted April 16th, 2010 in News in Produce

I don’t know if I have been singled out but lately but I have received multiple spam emails on a daily basis trying to sell me blueberry plants for growing in my garden. Now, I live in the San Joaquin valley of California and it gets HOT! here in the summer. The weather could not be more disparate from the fertile Willamette Valley in Oregon where Oregon Fruit Blueberries are grown. That is an area blessed with mild winters and springs. During these seasons most of the 45 inches of annual rainfall occurs. The mild winter, followed by warm (not HOT!) sunny summer days, gives that northwest fruit a flavor, size and natural sweetness unparalleled in the world.  So I have never even considered growing my own blueberries. Tomatoes-yes! Blueberries-no way. 

However, several years ago I researched some varieties of blueberries that were hybridized to grow well in Southern California where my parents live. I bought my dad a couple of blueberry plants for Father’s Day and he has been enjoying a small handful of fresh blueberries every year since (if he can beat the birds to the crop!).  So this week in the Oregononian- the daily newspaper in Portland-there was a feature on growing your own blueberries. According to the article author, Kim Pokorny, “Blueberries belong to that cherished group of edibles that play dual roles with aplomb. Whether onstage in the kitchen or the landscape, these shrubs get rave reviews from their dedicated — and increasing — fans. “They (blueberry plants) have always been one of our best-sellers over the years,” says Jim Gilbert, owner of One Green World nursery. “But in the last few years, their popularity has increased. Everyone wants to have them in their garden.”  Well, I guess that would be true if you are lucky enough to live in Oregon.  I think the email spammers are trying to capitalize on all that good press.  But for the rest of us who don’t live in Oregon, don’t garden, have brown thumbs or whatever, we can just buy them in the produce department or from a farmer’s market during the small window when they are fresh (which is coming up soon) but the rest of year you can easily substitute processed blueberries for any recipe you like.  Tonight I am making a fantastic recipe given to me by acclaimed Portland Chef Cory Shreiber formerly of Wildwood Restaurant. Game Hens with Blueberry Sauce was originally made with fresh blueberries but we adapted it to work great with canned and the added touch of the whole roasted garlic really makes it unique.  I bet you wish you were eating at my house tonight…

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3 Comments

  1. Sounds great……can’t wait to try this tonight!

  2. My mom was reading this article in some magazine about a study in which a group of people that drank five cups of blueberry juice a day were seen to have improved/increased memory function. I’m not sure on the specifics of that, but we both thought five cups of blueberry juice a DAY is a lot!

    • I agree. Sometimes studies are done on very unrealistic amounts of food products or the research is not done with human subjects. There are strong indications that blueberry extracts will help with memory but we still don’t know how much is necessary. I am going to look for that study though! thanks for sharing.

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