Friday, August 19, 2011

Berry Pickin' Time

One of the things I missed most about Michigan during my time in California was fruit picking. Southwest Michigan is covered in apple orchards, berry farms, and all manner of fresh produce. I spent many summer days growing up picking blueberries along M-43, and nearly every fall included a trip to one of the local orchards for fresh cider, donuts, and a variety of apples (fuji and macintosh were my favorites). 

Thus, being back in the Mitten, I was determined to pick some fruit. Last year was too hectic to fulfill that wish, but this year has been more settled, so I searched for u-pick blueberry farms in the Ann Arbor area, despite assertions that there were none, and found one quite conveniently located in Dexter, also home to "the oldest continuously operating Cider Mill in Michigan", where I am sure I will head this fall.

My roommate Kimmy had never been blueberry picking, so we planned to go one of my days off. The previous day or so, Kimmy had also pined for donuts, so I also looked up on the internet local bakeries in Dexter and found one downtown. After sadly dressing in blue jeans as suggested by the blueberry farm's website, we headed to Dexter for donuts and blueberries.

Dexter, Michigan is a village located about twenty minutes outside of Ann Arbor. I was led to believe this was far away, but my perception of "far" has been skewed since living in California, and twenty minutes is quite laughable to me now, especially since the drive was pleasant and scenic. Downtown Dexter holds a number of turn-of-the-previous-century buildings kept in good repair and a small park with a Civil War memorial statue that Kimmy adored and snapped a few pictures of. 

After a quick walk up and down the street, we bought donuts and drinks from the Dexter Bakery and sat in the park to enjoy them. The atmosphere was quaint and delightful to Kimmy and me who are used to small town downtowns being decrepit and full of empty store fronts. Downtown Ann Arbor has been quite modernized despite the shops and restaurants being in hundred-plus year old buildings. I'm not sure how they do it, but I definitely have trouble picturing downtown A2 a hundred years ago. Downtown Dexter of Old seemed to come alive before my eyes.

Breakfast eaten and pictures taken, we continued our journey to the blueberry farm, located on a one track dirt path off a dirt road that was off another dirt road. I don't think I've been on a dirt road since I was a child! We collected our plastic buckets from the shed/barn and headed into the rows of bushes...

...and were immediately devoured by mosquitoes.  Horrible doesn't begin to cover it. We forged on and managed to hunt down over a pound of blueberries. The bushes were full of green berries, but those ripe for picking were indeed few and far between. Most were smaller than I was used to getting in Southwest Michigan, but we too them anyway and were quite pleased with our bug-bitten selves. 

A few days later, I washed off a cup of berries from the fridge and made homemade blueberry scones. Kimmy has requested blueberry cheesecake, so that may be my next endeavor. I am mostly pleased with having finally picked them, and haven't really given much thought to what to do with them now. 

Next up! Apple picking. Well, in a few months, anyway.

1 comment:

  1. I remember when Sandy and I used to go blueberry picking. I forgot about the mosquitoes though. Thanks for the memory.