BlueberriesAlas, the strawberry season is coming to a close but that can only mean one thing…blueberries are coming! And while the rain certainly made a mess of the strawberry harvest this year, apparently it’s done the blueberry crop good, according to an article in the Press of AtlanticCity.com. Blueberries are much larger and plumper this year.

Last year, there were four really hot days in the beginning of June that stunted the growth of the crop – they went from green berries straight to blueberries without any growth,” said Bill Mortellite, of Hammonton, whose family has owned Blueberry Bill Farms on 11th Street for more than 50 years. “This year, the cool, wet weather has enabled the berries to gradually go from green to white to red to blue, which allows them to grow bigger and become easier to pick.”

But New Jersey blueberry farmers are worried about making ends meet as well this year. With competition from both within the U.S. and abroad, it has decreased the demand for local blueberries.

We’re just starting our harvest, but if you go to the supermarket, they already have blueberries on the shelves from Georgia,” said Mortellite, who will allow adults to pick their own blueberries at his farm for the first time this year in an attempt to offset the impact of the recession.

“Blueberries grown locally are the freshest and, in my opinion, the best tasting,” he said. “People just have to know that the season is here. Because it is so short, they could miss it.”

Although the article talks about the big blueberry farms in New Jersey, we’ve got some here in Bucks as well, as I was just reminded by an astute reader. Be sure to check out Solebury Orchards  and The Wildemore Farm in Chalfont for the start of their blueberry seasons. The Wildemores come to the Doylestown Farmers’ Market and also, like Solebury Orchards, offer pick-your-own.

Because Mark and I are doing low-carb, and I can’t eat one of my favorite blueberry cake recipes, I’m sharing it all with you. So go out and get some local blueberries and make some cake!

Blueberry Buckle; photo credit Lynne Goldman 

Blueberry Buckle
[Thanks, Mom]

INGREDIENTS for the CAKE

2 cups blueberries
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
grated lemon rind
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

INGREDIENTS for the GLAZE

2 tbsp. soft butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp. lemon juice

HOW TO for the CAKE

  1. Wash and drain blueberries. Set aside on paper towels to dry.
  2. Stir lemon juice into milk and set aside.
  3. Set oven for 350 degrees F.
  4. Cream butter, sugar and egg; grate lemon rind in.
  5. Add milk and lemon mixture, flour, baking powder and salt. Do not overmix / beat.
  6. Add blueberries and gently stir in.
  7. Pour into a greased 8 inch square pan.
  8. Bake for 40 -45 minutes until a thin knife comes out clean.

HOW TO for the GLAZE

  1. Prepare just before cake is done baking.
  2. Cook all ingredients over low heat until smooth and then remove from stove.
  3. When cake is done, spread glaze over top. Return cake to oven and broil until glaze bubbles, but avoid overbrowning.

Note: You can use the same recipe to make muffins. Just brush the glaze on instead of pouring.

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