A New Pastoral
A quarterly home cooking journal by Ann and Glenn Suokko features recipes from their kitchen and seasonal images from their home in Vermont.
Summer is not summer without a day at the beach or an outing to pick blueberries. Some years, we might miss the sun and waves at the seashore, but never miss the days in Vermont when blueberries are ripe.
The blueberry, native to North America, is a hardy shrub of the heath family. Tucked up in the hills of Woodstock where we live, a few wild, lowbush blueberry plants grow—and from them the wild animals reap the fruit before we do—but not far from home is a “pick-your-own” orchard where many acres of the North American highbush varieties flourish. In late July and early August, the bushes are laden with purple and blue, sweet, edible berries. There, on a Saturday afternoon, berry pickers of all ages, shapes, and sizes fill up their pails with the fruit and when they’ve picked enough, pay by the pound, weighing in the day’s yield on a scale in the back of the farmer’s truck. Picking blueberries is a summer tradition, a low-key affair, as well as a chance to socialize with friends and family while standing side-by-side, carefully choosing particular berries from the long rows of bushes, knowing that later at home, the glorious bounty will be transformed into jam, pies, or cakes.
In this issue, Ann has made several delicious recipes inspired by the appealing blueberry. These days, the fruit seems to be available in grocery markets all times of the year, but there is nothing quite like waiting eleven long months for the first, fresh, taste of a sweet blueberry plucked from an abundant bush on a hot summer day. GS