West Michigan Blueberries
It’s 80º and what could be better than some homemade blueberry pie? Michigan is the number one state in highbush blueberry production with growers producing over 100 million pounds of blueberries every year. Why would you go to some grocery store and overpay for lesser quality berries when you can pick your own? With over 20 U-Pick blueberry farms in Ottawa county alone, there’s no reason to miss the opportunity. Not only do most farms in Ottawa county allow personal picking, but many have bushels already picked that are not only better quality than the grocery stores, but normally less expensive as well.
Some of my favorite farms are Reenders Blueberry Farm, Kenny Garden Farms, and Wa-Hu Blueberry Farm. Reenders Farm is located in West Olive (between Grand Haven and Holland), while Wa-Hu and Kenny Garden are right in Holland. Toni Perfect, lifelong Grand Haven local proclaims, “Our family has been picking at Reenders Farm annually for more years than I can count. Their blueberries are always the biggest, sweetest blueberries we’ve ever seen! Everyone there is so helpful and friendly.” Also in Downtown Grand Haven, Blueberry Haven has a wide selection of West michigan blueberry products that everyone can enjoy.
A lot of people tell me that they don’t know what to do with all the berries once they arrive home. That half of what they picked goes bad, or they can’t give away enough blueberry jam to justify it. One thing to think about is freezing them. I always freeze my berries in 1-3 pound bags so I can easily thaw out a batch when I need it for muffins, jam, pie, smoothies, even blueberry zucchini bread. It takes little effort to make sure the berries you picked can be enjoyed for months to come. So bring the whole family on an afternoon of picking and a picnic. Enjoy the outdoors with the kids, then bring them home and teach them how to cook using what they just picked. It’s a great way to teach kids about the way food was supposed to be enjoyed.
For more information on locations to pick your own berries, check out pickyourown.org. They have directions to tons of farms listed all around Michigan, as well as directions on how to correctly freeze your berries. Once you get them home, visit allrecipes.com for some delicious recipes the whole family is going to love. Eat some, freeze some, and gift some. There’s so many things to do with our West Michigan blueberries.