Our usual trips to the blueberry farm will not be happening this year. There was a late spring storm that took out most of the early varieties and then a heat wave that ruined the rest. I'm CRUSHED. We usually pick about 150lbs a year, freeze and share, and it doesn't even make it until January. Forget about how awesomely healthy blueberries are, how low in calories, and how you can use them 39 different ways.
I was thinking about this. These moments. Little boys with buckets. Toddlers picking perfect berries with perfect, chubby fingers. Older sisters squealing at spiders. Bigger boys pointing out frogs.
I thought of 'helpful' hands washing the berries and eating a whole lot. (The berries are unsprayed, all organic because the farm is part of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and the animals are considered 'owners' of the land and they prefer their berries natural, thank you very much.)
I was thinking of those pie-making moments, the 'flour all over the floor and we're okay with it' moments. Those 'I got a really sour berry' moments.
I thought of those lattice-crust pies that were made by very small people and tasted better than mine.
I thought of the time we picked in an afternoon thunderstorm. Every time the thunder rumbled, the wild turkeys over the hedge answered with loud gobbles. We laughed so hard we could hardly pick.
I thought of the blueberry pies we made with crazy crusts because a two year old loved stars and wanted them on everything he ate.
I thought of the perfect summer night desserts, made with Greek yoghurt, graham crackers and a little wild honey.
I thought bowl after bowl of giant, sweet Toros that we shared with neighbors and visitors and family and friends. Toros don't freeze well. You pick them to enjoy, within hours.
I must have made the same phone call twenty times: Come on over, we just went picking.
Or: Did you eat dessert yet? We're coming over and bringing fresh blueberries.
Sometimes we made ice cream and added home made blueberry syrup. Sweet, potent, addicting.
I've never actually taken a picture of the road. But if I ever did, it would look like this.
So, we wallowed for a while in our disappointment. Then I took a deep breath and tried to look at all the wonderful things that are happening.
The pie will wait. A summer's walk along the river as the sun sets, kids racing to fill their little buckets... It's not a blueberry farm, but it's okay.
So, I've made peace with our summer-of-no-blueberries. I bought a little bag of frozen ones at the grocery store and made a dessert.
Cook and serve vanilla pudding.
It will be a summer of memories no matter what.
And for that, I am grateful.