An Abundance of Blueberries!


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This Sunday my family and I took a road trip to Hammonton, NJ – the blueberry capital of the world. If this little tidbit about Hammonton is news to you, don’t feel bad. I’ve lived in Jersey my whole life and I didn’t know till a few weeks ago! You can even Google it. Apparently, blueberries are very particular about the Ph levels in the soil and Hammonton’s proximity to the Pine Barrens gives the soil just the right quality to produce world class berries.  Who knew, right? Anyway, our excursion this weekend  was because the town was holding their annual blueberry festival, which Is now in its 30th year.

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We were invited to the festival by our friend Vinny, who is a native of Hammonton and whose father happens to be head of the chamber of commerce. He told us about how the town had suffered through a period of closed businesses and rundown neighborhoods but has been on the upswing recently. The blueberry festival is one of the  biggest event each year and draws an incredible number of people.

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Vinny, who my Hubby knows through his work, moonlights as a singer in a cover band called “Stealing Savanah.” Guess who was providing the entertainment at the festival? We’ve been to see the band many times at local bars, but this was Miss Dee’s first chance to catch their act.  They perform a wide range of songs from the 1980s up to today’s hits. She seemed to be impressed.

[Summer Bucket List item #23. Yay me!]

Vinny found a unique use for a traffic cone. Whatever it takes to be heard!

Vinny found a unique use for a traffic cone. Whatever it takes to be heard!

We arrived around noon and after securing a parking spot in a nearby field that some industrious owners had offered at $5 per car, we followed the sound of Vinnys voice to an outdoor stage on wheels topped with a yellow and white awning. There was another large tent beside it with about fifty picnic tables overflowing with people of all ages eating lunch and enjoying the music. There was all kinds of food for sale but we had packed a picnic lunch and after locating some other friends that we knew were in attendance, we settled in to eat and enjoy the music. The day was rather warm but there was enough of a breeze in the shade of the tent to keep it from being unbearable.

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After the band was  finished their set, and we’d said hello to Vinny, we went off to explore the many booths and tents offering up crafts and goodies of all sorts. There were a lot of blueberry items, naturally, both to eat and as decorations.  We even took a moment to check out the blueberry pie eating contest which looked messy and fun, and treated ourselves to some Italian water ice. Hubby saw some Philadelphia Eagles crafts that I had to talk him out of buying and Miss Dee almost bought her brother a marshmallow shooter as a housewarming present but reconsidered. There were tents with beautiful jewelry and fine glass pieces from nearby Weaton Village as well as doll clothes and face painting.

Wow, there are still Eagles items that my Hubby doesn't own!

Wow, there are still Eagles items that my Hubby doesn’t own!

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The festival ran from 11:00 to 4:00 and judging from the crowds, was an outstanding success. Vinny and his dad thanked us for coming and sent us on our way with an entire case of blueberries and a few different baked goods! What a great way to spend our Sunday afternoon. We will have to put it on our calendar for next year. In the meantime, does anyone have any good blueberry recipes?

 

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13 responses to “An Abundance of Blueberries!

  1. Blueberries have an extremely short lifespan in this house. I rarely get to actually make anything with them.
    I also really like blueberries in a spinach salad with a balsamic vinaigrette and some feta cheese. mmmm!!

    • Yum! I’ve made salads with strawberries and spinach, but never thought of using blueberries! Thanks. (Although I noticed this morning that the box in the fridge is almost empty, like your house, I guess. Luckily I stashed some in the freezer.)

  2. All my life in NJ and I never knew this either. Maybe next year I’ll check out the festival. I love all things blueberry..:)

  3. I made some delicious lemon blueberry bread last summer. Let me see if I saved the recipe. No, I did not. It was very basic, 2 cups, lemon zest, one lemon juice, egg, milk…hmm.
    Anyway, it looks like y’all had a good time 🙂

  4. Pingback: Science Questions I Asked My Kids | All In A Dad's Work

  5. Mmmm. Love blueberries. We’re lucky to have a blueberry farm not far from here. I also have a blueberry bush but despite it producing masses of flowers last spring, the blueberries never appeared. 😦

    You can freeze blueberries. On one outing to the farm, the boys got a bit enthusiastic in their picking. I just bagged them in ziplock bags and popped them in the freezer. Handy for muffins and desserts.

    • Thanks! One of my neighbors told me that too so I did stash some in the freezer. We had a blackberry bush in our back yard when I was a kid. I loved picking them off and eating them right off the bush! Too bad your own blueberry bushes didn’t produce fruit. Maybe in a few more years?

  6. How fun! I go to Michigan many years to buy blueberries to bring back, but I had heard New Jersey was known for them. I’m in IL, though, so MI is closer!

    • See, you knew we had great blueberries and you’re thousands of miles away! How come I never heard of it? I guess I was too busy loving on the Jersey tomato!😊

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