Saturday, April 9, 2011

Love Letters to Central Pennsylvania: Blueberry Picking

I've already written a post on our beautiful mountains and a post on some amazing local food, so why not a post that combines the joy of both?!

My husband and I are both huge berry lovers (and judging from our daughter's delighted reaction in utero whenever I ate them, I think she'll take after us).  Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries -- we could gleefully eat them by the bowlful.  Blueberries are no exception, and occasionally even in the winter we'll pick up a pint at the store to enjoy.  Not even the finest summer grocery store offering, however, can hold a candle to fresh-picked blueberries from Mountainhome Farm.

Mountainhome Farm is located in one of the most gorgeous, serene settings I've ever seen.  It's in a secluded area in the mountains that's a mere 20-25 minute drive from State College.  When I was there, I had a very similar reaction the one I have when I'm near a gentle creek -- one of deep relaxation and peace.  Just looking at these photos from a couple years back has a calming effect on me!

The awesomeness of the experience didn't end there.  Each patron was given a gallon jug with the narrow neck cut off and an old necktie.  We each threaded a necktie through a jug handle, tied them around our waists, and presto! -- we had hands-free carriers for all the delicious blueberries we could pick!

Before we went, my husband was concerned that the task would be messy and our hands would get all blue.  Not so!  The big, beautiful berries come off the bush with ease, and we found nary a stain on your hands upon finishing (which was hard to do -- it's so tempting to keep picking "just a few more").  When we finally did wrap up, the owner (under-)guesstimated how much we'd picked by looking in our jugs, and the prices were beyond reasonable, way less than what you'd pay at a grocery store or farmer's market.  Of course, we'd done the work of picking them, but we both found the experience to be so intoxicatingly fantastic that it could hardly be called work.

The fruits themselves are the most succulent, delectable blueberries I've ever had.  They were amazing by themselves, and I made several pies, sweet breads, and coffee cakes with the extras we froze.  I wish we still had some in our freezer, but we weren't able to go last year, as blueberry season here is generally during July and the first half of August, and our daughter was born June 29.  Believe me, I thought about it, and if we'd gone the sling-carrier route we probably could have done it, but it just wasn't in the cards.

This year, however...I! can't! wait!!!


  1. Aww! There had better be pics of you and Elise blueberry picking together! That will be so much fun!

    I can't wait to strawberry picking, myself. Only 2-3 more months!
    Though, I hate to admit, your intense love for blueberry picking makes me semi-desperate to give it another try. Maybe I'll have to locate the place I went years and years ago and give it another go. :)

  2. I know!! I would love to get pictures of that!

    I've heard of a place in Ellsworth (on Gault Road, the address is North Jackson but it looks like Ellsworth to me as it's pretty close to 224) where you can pick blueberries. I wonder if that's where you went? I've been wanting to check it out. And mmmmmmmmmmm strawberries :):):)

  3. It's very likely that was it. My grandparents live in north Jackson, and we usually start there for all our fruit and berry picking endeavors.