Am I Blue?

Blueberry Snap cut web

 
Nationally, July is blueberry month, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Here in the hills of western Massachusetts, however, blueberry month falls in August.
 
I know that blueberries are a super food–all those antioxidants!–so I grudgingly eat the big ones in July. I bide my time, however, until the tiny, low-bush berries make their appearance a month later. Locally we find most of these in Heath. This town near my own Hawley is high in elevation and rich in good cooks.
 
Heath’s little blue pearls look prettier, taste sweeter, and freeze better than their jumbo counterparts.
 
For years neighbors just ate them, preserved them, and enjoyed them. Lately local food producers have been using Heath’s blueberries to make tasty, useful products. The Benson Place, a Heath grower, makes something called Wonderfully Wild (and it is!) Blueberry Spread.
 
Bart’s Homemade Ice Cream in Greenfield recently began a limited run of a new flavor called CISA Berry Local Blueberry Ice Cream. The company gets its berries from three Heath farms–the Benson Place, Tripp’s, and Burnt Hill. I asked Bart’s president Barbara Fingold about the origins of the project.
 
She reported that her husband and business partner, Gary Schaefer, is on the board of CISA, the Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture. The organization is interested in making more durable products that use local crops, according to Barbara. In fact, she noted, the blueberry ice cream is “a prototype for future products made by Bart’s Homemade, as well as other local producers.”
 
CISA’s workers helped come up with the name of the ice cream and have assisted in publicizing it. A portion of all sales goes toward CISA’s work promoting local farms and farmers.
 
Barbara informed me that the company hopes to try making local peach ice cream soon. I can’t wait! Meanwhile, my family is savoring the current flavor. According to Barbara, its limited run will end in mid-September–or when the company runs out of the ice cream; she called the response “overwhelmingly positive.”
 
We can’t eat ice cream ALL the time, although some of us would like to–so here’s a simple coffee cake to add to your blueberry repertoire. Make it with large berries if you must, but the tiny ones will make it more delicious. It’s easy to bake and serve when you don’t have a lot of time or energy.  
 
Seasonal Heaven: CISA Berry Local Blueberry Ice Cream (with a few peaches!)

Seasonal Heaven: CISA Berry Local Blueberry Ice Cream (with a few peaches!)

 
 
 
Blueberry Snap
 
Ingredients:
 
1/2 cup (1 stick) sweet butter at room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-3/4 cups flour
1 cup milk
1 to 2 cups tiny blueberries
1/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/3 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup finely chopped almonds
 
Instructions:
 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by9-inch baking pan. Cream together the butter and white sugar. Beat the eggs together and then beat them into the butter-sugar combination. Beat in the extract; then add the baking powder and salt.
 
Add the flour and the milk, alternately, to the butter-sugar-egg mixture, beginning and ending with the flour. Fold in the berries.
 
Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish, and top it with the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts (if you are using them). Bake for 50 minutes. Serves 9 (with big pieces) to 12 (with tiny pieces).
 
 
snap in pan web

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2 Responses to “Am I Blue?”

  1. Joan M. says:

    Reading you is almost as good as tasting the dish! I kind of miss the
    desserts I used to make, but health-wise it’s better for the two of us I
    don’t. So I’m glad to read you and spare the calories. If we ever
    get our weight down, I’m going to make every single recipe!

  2. tinkyweisblat says:

    I know just what you mean. I try to give the cakes, etc., away as soon as I make them. Unfortunately for my waistline, it doesn’t ALWAYS work. But it keeps me popular!

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