I hope the first few weeks of 2013 have been healthy and happy for everyone. We have been busy at the farm clearing brush, pruning out the old blackberry canes and planning events for the upcoming year. First on the list will be some upcoming cooking classes which we hope to announce soon for the months of February and March. In addition, we are excited to announce a blueberry pruning workshop to be held on April 13 at 10am at the farm. Please check our home page of the website for further information about these events.
Knowing that most everyone has probably made the resolution to eat healthier for the new year, I have included a recipe for a hearty salad that includes…what else?…blueberries! Enjoy
Fresh Blueberry Kiwi Salad
4 cups mixed greens
½ cup to 1 cup fresh blueberries
3 kiwis, peeled and chopped in bite size pieces
¼ cup crumbled blue cheese or goat cheese
Combine greens, blueberries, kiwi and tomatoes. Sprinkle with cheese. Add cut up roasted chicken for a heartier meal and top with blueberry balsamic dressing.
Blueberry Balsamic Dressing
1 1/2 cups blueberries
3 Tbl. sugar
1/4 cup good balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon water
1/3 cup walnut oil
Combine all ingredients in sauce pan and cook over medium heat on stove until blueberries have cooked down. Let mixture cool and process to a smooth consistency in blender or magic bullet. Mix with good quality walnut oil.
In the photo below, I used a combination of romaine and kale for the greens and blue cheese for the topping. We made this salad in the Easy Summer Entertaining Cooking Class and used goat cheese from a local farm…yummy.
Santa’s elves are working overtime at the farm this week baking, decorating and pruning blueberry bushes (ugh!) Join us Saturday, December 1 from 9 to 4 for a day of shopping at our farmhouse and also in the town of Strafford for artisan wares at Christmas in Strafford. Below are a few photos of the items for sale on Saturday and check out this easy easy recipe at the end of the post for a quick holiday treat using fresh local honey and goat cheese.
Fresh Figs With Goat Cheese and Honey
Pre-heat broiler. Halve the figs and place on cookie sheet. Place a small dollop of goat cheese on each fig and drizzle with honey. Place in oven and broil for 2 to 3 minutes or until the cheese starts to melt…yummy!
Not the movie…the new cookbook recently written by Fifi O’Neill titled The Romantic Prairie Cookbook
which features many great farms and their recipes including two recipes from Berrybogg Farm. Fifi and Mark Lohman came to the farm back in June of 2011 and we had a great time watching a photo shoot evolve during a 90 degree day which culminated with a huge thunderstorm and a power outage! Despite the obstacles, the results are fantastic and the entire book is a work of art. I can’t wait to try the Dark Chocolate Chip Raspberry cookies from Raspberry Fields Farm, the Blueberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake from Lizzie McGraw, and Fifi’s own Tourtiere recipe which is a staple at the holidays in our neck of the woods.
March has been a busy month of pruning at the farm in temperatures sometimes 40 degrees above the norm for this time of year. Time will tell what the increased temperatures will do to the plants this season but when we had a similar warm spring two years ago it pushed up our opening date by 10 days. However, warm temperatures or not, we will still hold our annual plant sale on May 5 and May 6 with lots of blueberry, raspberry, blackberry plants and peach trees for sale. Stay tuned for more information.
This year we are planning on holding cooking classes in the new farm kitchen during the summer and fall with help from local caterer extraordinaire Chef Randy Brisson. We will be updating the website with more information on these events but we hope to offer a wide range of classes using local ingredients and of course blueberries!
We have finally completed pruning all three blueberry fields (almost 6000 plants!) and now we are busy in preparation for the annual blueberry plant sale to be held this Saturday, April 30 ; Sunday, May 1 and if we still have plants May 7. Hours are 9am to 2pm all three days. This year we will be offering the blueberry plant varieties Blueray, Patriot and the so-so-sweet Jersey. We will also have Boyne raspberries and Fall Gold raspberries for sale as well as a small selection of peach trees and rhubarb.
It is still not too late for you to prune your own blueberry bushes. At the farm, we try to complete pruning before the blossoms come out and also before the “dreaded” black fly appears. We have included two videos below of pruning both small and large bushes which should help you get your own bushes into top shape for blueberry production. Keep in mind that it is always helpful to give your plants a dose of fertilizer which can be done after the blossoms drop off. Blueberries are an acid loving plant so an application of 7-7-7 can be sprinkled around the drip line of your bush. Unfortunately, the birds will be your number 1 pest when the berries ripen so you need to learn to share or purchase a netting system from a garden center. Don’t forget that blueberry plants are shallow rooted and love water so try and mulch around your plants with sawdust, bark mulch or even pine needles.
Finally, Anne is in the process of putting together a second cookbook for the farm and she would love to hear from any of you that would like to include your own special blueberry recipes. You can send them through email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or drop a copy of your recipe with your name on it to Berrybogg Farm, 650 Province Rd. , Strafford, NH 03884. We look forward to hearing from you!
The sun was out today, the temperature pushing 45 and there is only about a foot of snow left in the blueberry fields so why not think about summer! We hope the weather cooperates and we will be able to start pruning the blueberries within the week but you know spring in New England. In honor of making it through a LONG winter and in anticipation of a great summer, we would like to pass along one of our favorite summer drink recipes : The Blueberry Daiquiri! The above photo was taken last year around the 4th of July and pictures my mom, our friend Jim Cooney and myself sipping a cool daiquiri….cheers!
1 cup blueberries
1/2 cup rum
1/2 to 3/4 cup of simple syrup or 1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons of fresh lime juice or 3 tablespoons of limeade
1 to 2 cups of crushed ice
Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth. Should provide 4 large servings or 5 smaller ones.
If you choose to use frozen blueberries then lessen the amount of ice to use. If you use limeade instead of lime juice, you may want to lessen the amount of sugar you use…this is definitely a taste test recipe for the “bartender”. Experiment with your ingredients until you reach perfection!
Simple Syrup Recipe
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan, bring to a boil, stir until sugar has dissolved, allow to cool before using.
Once again we are out in the fields pruning the blueberries and in the above picture, Mike is pruning dead canes from the blackberries. The bushes look good and most of the snow has disappeared from the fields which has allowed us to start pruning sooner. On Monday, March 22 we will be hosting a pruning workshop for highbush blueberries which will take place from 4:30 to 7:30. The workshop is sponsored by the UNH Cooperative Extension folks who will have several speakers talking about diseases and pests common to blueberries, pollination of blueberry plants and a pruning demonstration. Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear as you never know what the weather can bring.
We had a great time at the Winter Farmer’s market held at Wentworth Greenhouses in Rollinsford. This is a picture of Michael and his favorite mother-in-law prior to the opening. Seacoast Eat Local and Wentworth Greenhouse have another farmer’s market scheduled for Saturday, December 5 http://www.seacoasteatlocal.org/winterfarmersmarkets/ . We won’t be participating as we sold most of our frozen blueberries at the last market but there were many many great farms and vendors who will be returning.
For the past few weeks we have been busy pruning the blueberry bushes in our third field. Most growers recommend that blueberry bushes can be pruned starting in March and continuing up to blossom time. However, because of the number of bushes we need to prune and because of advice from other growers, we have started pruning in November and will continue until it gets too cold (for us and the bushes!) We resume pruning in March and April which usually allows us the needed time to prune all 6000 plants. Stay tuned for a pruning workshop which will be held at the farm sometime in March in conjunction with UNH Cooperative Extension.