Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Field Trip #1

Tuesday afternoon, in my quest for local foods, I visited Miller's Blueberries, a pick-your-own farm in Watkinsville, Ga. The photo you see here doesn't capture the sheer volume of blueberries I picked. That's a large wash basin in the picture. Two gallons is a lot!

It was work, but it felt like a vacation. The blueberries are a southern highbush variety, which means the fruits are mostly at waist- to chest-height. They are co-planted with pine trees (for the soil acidity, I assume) so they are in dappled shade and everything smells piney. The sun was shining and people picked berries in contented silence.

(Pie and jam are imminent. I may also try their recipe for blueberry ice cream.)

Afterward I stopped at my favorite farm stand in a town called Bishop. I had gotten excellent peaches there before. This time, I asked about where they came from.

"We get them from a fella in Spartanburg, South Carolina," the old man replied. "They're a lot better than the peaches they got around here."

I had to agree. I'd tried to buy peaches from Thomas Orchard, just up the road, and had come to the conclusion that they were trying to pass off their "seconds"--or maybe their outright rejects--on the local shoppers. Green, spotty, gnarly, hard. Nothing like these fuzzy beauties.

I bought a dozen of the South Carolina peaches. One had a soft spot, so the man's wife threw in an extra.

I also got a paper sack of small garnet sweet potatoes ("We get them from Mississippi...the ones from Georgia were all stringy, but people say these are the best they ever had") and a sack of gorgeous little red and yellow tomatoes that the couple grew in their back yard.

A note for those of you following along at home: I will be posting my Eat Local menus this month on my old Manor Menu blog. The link is in the sidebar. I'm doing this to avoid boring people with incessant tiny details.