Blueberry U-Pick & A Mango Blueberry Muffin Recipe
A guest post from Blythe:
I really wanted to devote a post to strawberry u-picks, but since strawberry season is slooowing down and the u-pick action is almost over, I’ll move on to one of my other favorite fruits: blueberries.
Blueberries never get a chance to go bad in my household—most of them get eaten by the handful, and any “leftovers” get frozen and then later used in baking and smoothies. They’re also a refreshing treat taken straight from the freezer. There are quite a few u-pick blueberry farms in Central Florida, which Orlando Sentinel food writer Heather McPherson was kind enough to detail in last Wednesday’s paper. I will repost the specifics—name, location, season and contact number– here for y’all:
Beck Brother’s Blueberries: Windemere, open, 407-656-5344.
Blue Bayou Farms: Yalaha, opening “soon,” 352-324-4069.
Green Acres: Yalaha, open, 352-360-5445 (peaches AND berries!)
H&H Berry Farms: Montverde, 321-436-5830.
Heather Oaks Farm: Lady Lake, open, 352-753-1184.
Holland Family Farm: Mims, opening late April, 321-269-9502.
Lake Catherine Blueberries: Groveland, opening April 20th, 352-551-4110.
Mark’s U-Pick: Clermont, opening late April, 352-394-2135.
Meadors Farm: Mims, 407-383-6639.
Sand Hill Farm: Eustis, opening late April, 352-636-8204.
Tom West Blueberries: Ocoee, opening April 20th, 407-656-3223.
Here’s the only issue:
McPherson didn’t note which farms use organic practices and I don’t really want to call all over the state SO… you may want to call ahead for hours and prices and to find out what farming practices your intended farm uses.
Tampa Bay’s 6th Annual Blueberry Festival on April 27th and 28th
Since I know you’re interested in MY social calendar, I’ll let you in on how I plan to celebrate blueberry season: Keel & Curley Winery, located in Plant City, is hosting Tampa Bay’s 6th Annual Blueberry Festival on April 27th and 28th. (Can I get a “woot,woot!”)
Keel & Curley originated when blueberry farmer Joe Keel was pondering what to do with his last harvest of the year—blueberries that either weren’t “pretty” enough for the grocery store (called “culls”) or were picked after the market’s peak and therefore wouldn’t fetch good enough prices. So he eventually decided to start brewing blueberry wine (thank you, so appreciate that decision!) and thus Keel & Curley was born. You can read about this on the winery’s website, but I can brag that I have accumulated all this knowledge through frequent stops to the winery’s tasting room. It calls my name every time I drive west on I-4 … and then again when I’m returning home. I looooves me a wine tasting!
The winery has three different types of blueberry wine, but my fave product of theirs is actually one of their “blended” wines—one where they mix grape juice shipped from CA with local fruits– called wildberry pinot noir. If you’re curious about the wine but don’t want to drive across the state for it, I know that my local Publix carries their wine—and yours probably will too if you ask them nicely.
SO, back to my point: I plan to visit the Blueberry Festival, where they will have food and craft vendors, u-pick (while it lasts, $3/lb), live music, a kids’ area, and farm tours. I will go bask in the berries (and the vino) while my daughter goes in for face paint, clowns and tormenting the resident ducks and then we’ll reconvene for some delicious blueberry cobbler. At least, that’s what I’m envisioning. BUT, since the best laid plans often go awry, there is also a very serious chance that we will miss the festival, and instead will have to get our fill from a local u-pick. A little less entertaining maybe, but just as delicious in the end.
So, what to do with all those berries? Here’s one of my favorite blueberry recipes from of www.allrecipes.com with some of my own modifications. It’s definitely on the sweet side as far as muffins are concerned, but man, are they good! This highlights another fruit just coming into season, the ever-versatile mango. However, since my peach tree is totally weighed down, I may swap the mangos out for some peaches. Enjoy…
Mango Blueberry Muffins with Coconut Streusel
¼ C all purpose flour
1 Tbsp brown sugar
3 Tbsp sweetened coconut flakes, chopped
A pinch of salt
½ C unsalted butter or coconut oil
1 ¼ C sugar
½ tsp salt
1 C wheat flour
¾ C all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ C buttermilk
1 c fresh blueberries
¼ C all-purpose flour
1 C diced mango
(1) Preheat your oven to 375 F. Grease muffin tin or line with cups.
(2) Strusel Topping:
Combine ¼ C flour, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, the coconut and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Mix in 2 Tbsp of butter or coconut oil until completely incorporated (it will be crumbly), then set aside.
(3) Muffin Batter:
(a) Beat the remaining butter or coconut oil, 1 ¼ C sugar, and ½ tsp salt until smooth. Beat the first egg into the mixture until completely blended, then add the second egg. Continue mixing until light and fluffy.
(b) In a separate bowl, combine 1 ¾ C flour with the baking powder. Stir into the butter mixture in step (a), alternating with the buttermilk.
(c) Combine the blueberries with ¼ C flour. Stir into the batter. Add the mango to the batter. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full and sprinkle each with the coconut streusel.
Bake in the preheated oven until golden, approx. 25-35 minutes. When done, the tops should spring back when gently pressed.