local corner: summer stops

I really embrace each of the seasons when they arrive, but summer might just be the one dearest to my heart.  It could be endlessly long days with gardening into the wee hours of the evening or the good ol’ fresh air that fills my lungs and works the wiggles and energy out of my rambunctious three year old.  The one thing I know I love about summer is the abundance of fresh food that our county provides.  For the June 2012 Co-op newsletter I put together an article of my favorite family stops around Whatcom County.  It’s a great read (if I do say so myself) and a wonderful reminder of why summer is just the best.  Happy summer solstice to you all!

Click for the PDF article hereWorth a look if you want to see some great pictures of Beckett and a visually appealing spread.

Click for the entire June 2012 newsletter here

Below is the article in it’s entirety.  Enjoy!

The long days of summer warmth have been teasing as we transition from spring into one of the best seasons in Whatcom County.  In summer, this beautiful corner of the Pacific Northwest is overflowing with an abundance of decadent raspberries, sublimely plump blueberries, succulently sweet strawberries and a rainbow of farm fresh vegetables.

I rely on our backyard garden for most of our fresh vegetables including broccoli, artichokes, lettuce, kale, corn and onions.  It’s also the place I hit for the immediate craving you get with one whiff of a strawberry patch.  We have an excellent suburb selection of berries, apples, pears and peaches, but we aren’t able to grow enough to yield any substantial quantities for storing over fall and winter.  The summer months are spent with the traditional Ferry family u-pick outings around the county.  These days spent with farmers, talking to locals and harvesting in the sunshine (or maybe rain!) is what our tummies are full of and what family memories are made of.

Bellingham Country Gardens

Strawberry shortcake is my favorite food of all-time.  I have a sixth-sense about the treat and consider it an accompaniment for all meals.  I like it best fresh, but will enjoy it yearround with frozen berries.  I also rely on strawberries for jam, jellies and yogurt smoothies.  The catch is that I hate picking strawberries.  It always seemed like an awful lot of back breaking work for very little.  That was until I visited Bellingham Country Gardens.  The owner/farmer/greeter, Sam, is one if the kindest souls I’ve ever met.  He believes in growing good food as nature intended.  No chemicals, no spray, just sunshine, water and nature’s fertilizers are what grow the goods at Bellingham Country Gardens.

The Albion strawberry variety is unique to our area and is an absolute joy (yes, JOY) to pick.  The berries are a large heart shaped ruby and grow up and out of the bushes.  Last summer, we were able to pick over 17-pounds in under a half hour.  You’re still bending over to grab the berries, but it is easy picking and the berries are phenomenal.  We were also blessed with Sam’s company as he worked along side us in the field to harvest the berries.

Bellingham Country Gardens will be our first inaugural farm stop this summer.

2838 East Kelly Road, Bellingham

Breckenridge Blueberries

Blueberries are the perfect freezer-friendly fruit.  They require nothing more than a rinse, double-check for stems and they are ready to plop into reusable plastic bags or containers for freezing.  When it comes to fresh blueberries, I am a sucker in the worst way.  I subscribe to the method of “two for Kate and one for the bucket”.  In years past, I would shy away from the bulbous, incredibly large berries because in my experience they were lackluster and generally blah.  But, Breckenridge Blueberries changed my tune.

Breckenridge Blueberries is a family-owned farm off Breckenridge Road in Everson.  The berries are naturally grown with no sprays or artificial chemicals, all are handpicked and the prices are very reasonable.  The hours are updated on their facebook page and you can count on them being open most Saturdays during the blueberry season.

The berry variety of my choice that Breckenridge grows is Duke.  Their size verges on the edge of ginormous and each berry is packed with flavor.  The u-pick is as easy as it gets and you can pack in fifty-plus pounds in a short afternoon – I know.  The farm atmosphere is relaxing, the view is nothing short of stunning and the family is a joy to be around.

One visit to Breckenridge Blueberries and you’ll be sure to have a tummy full and a freezer stocked with naturally grown, local berries that are just scrumptious.

3595 Breckenridge Road, Everson

Ferry field of Blackberries

I find it a bit ironic that you can buy blackberry starts.  These dark beauties grow with the voracity of a stubborn dandelion and have the will of an ornery toddler.  No pruning will take them down and no hand will be left unscathed from the prickly thorns after picking.  They are a sight to behold and a thorn (pardon the pun) in many a landowner’s sides.  But, they might be the most delicious burst of late summer.

My family homestead in Custer is lined with blackberries and the hedges tower like mountains for acres.  We pack up the kids, grab the dog and bring bucket upon bucket to harvest our bounty.  The berries are priced just right, the company is perfect and grown just the way nature intended.  Unruly, wild and free.

Bellewood Acres

It’s hard to even consider the end of summer and transition to fall when the warm season has just begun.  But, now is the time to make a mental note to stop by Bellewood Acres come the first of September.  They are the premier place to get apples in Whatcom County and their variety is astonishing.  There is a down-home farm store with homemade apple pie in a flaky, buttery crust; apple “flowers” spread with warm caramel, whipped cream and peanuts; and self-guided tours (via golf cart!) of the orchard and pumpkin patch.

Bellewood Acres brings together what family memories are made of and is the quintessential fall farm stop!

231 Ten Mile Road, Lynden

The dog days of summer will be heavy upon us soon and what a joy that sunshiney warmth will bring.  Enjoy all the best treats nature has to offer and load up your arms, buckets and freezer with the berry bounty of Whatcom County.

This entry was posted in free freelance, glorious gardening, oh! it's organic!, where the locals go!. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to local corner: summer stops

  1. ilibrarianblog says:

    What a bounty — and selection! — we are treated to here in Whatcom County! So much to enjoy.

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