The U-Pick Blueberry season is in full swing here in Southwest Michigan. Michigan is the number one state of highbush blueberry production. The state of Michigan, alone, creates over 100 million pounds of blueberries a year. Whether it be in our farm-fresh fruit cups, our cornmeal blueberry pancakes, or our lemon curd and blueberry stuffed sourdough french toast, at Castle in the Country Bed and Breakfast, we use blueberries multiple times a week! We are blessed that all of our fresh blueberries come from within a 30 minute radius of our Inn. The great part is that most of the farms producing this fresh little fruit allows you to pick yourself!
One of our innkeepers visited the Brookside Farms in Gobles, MI and loved the experience. Being as it was the first time she had went blueberry picking, the lovely women behind the counter helped out with all the questions and needs she had. They provided a bucket with a bag in it and each of the lanes of blueberry bushes were labeled. At Brookside, there were 10 different varieties of blueberries to choose from. Each of the 10 has a different purpose – whether it be for cooking, baking, or consuming immediately. While venturing through with buckets, there were green berries, pinkish red berries, and larger blue berries. The green weren’t ready to pick yet and were new buds. The red berries were berries about to turn blue in the next few days. The blue, obviously were ready to pick! Some of the main blueberries you purchase in the store are in the varieties of Berkley and Jersey berries; they are sweet and ready to eat immediately. A type you normally will cook with for pies and jams, are the Covel variety of blueberry; it is a very tart berry. The Berkley and Jersey type are ready for immediate consumption and are great in fruit cups, or muffins; this variety is quite sweet. Each of the different variety of blueberry are colored lighter, or darker and the berry may be larger or smaller. At Brookside, they weigh your berries, have you label which variety you took and you’re on your way! The little farm also has many Michigan based items as well: maple syrup, honeys, barbecue sauces, jams, and some baked goods. Do not worry if you pick too many, you can freeze them and use them whenever you would like!
*Royal Recommendation: We love to visit the Brookeside Farms in Paw Paw and Gobles, MI. With their three locations, they are open for young and old to venture through the fields and pick blueberries. While visiting the Paw Paw location, you can stop at St. Julian Winery which is a few miles south from the farm. This is the 2nd largest winery in the state of Michigan and we recommend that our guests purchase bottles of wine to bring back to our property or enjoy while soaking in our whirlpool tubs.
The National Blueberry Festival is coming up this weekend! From August 6-9, the 52nd Annual Festival is located in South Haven, MI. During this four day event, there is a parade, live music, baked and fresh blueberry items, and so much more! Four of the top blueberry farms in southwest Michigan are supplying their blueberry crop for this event. We are looking forward to the many pictures and goodies our guests bring back with them this next weekend!
If you like other U-pick farms, Crane’s Pie Pantry, Orchard and Restaurant also offers a variety of you pick fruits. Located in Fennville, MI just a mile from one of our favorite restaurants, Salt of the Earth, you are able to pick seasonal fruits, grab a small lunch in their deli, and try some of their new fruit wines after picking some fresh fruit.
Lastly, have you ever wanted to grow your own blueberry plants? Baby Blue Blueberries, in Bangor, MI, offers that just for you! They specialize in starter plants and will help you through the process. What a fun thing to bring home from your vacation get-a-way at Castle in the Country!
Interested in trying one of our Michigan Blueberry recipes from our own Chef Herb? During blueberry season, Herb makes Blueberry Juniper Cornmeal Pancakes; they are light, airy, and have a sweet tart bite with the fresh Michigan Blueberries. Take a peak at the recipe here!
After having a fresh and filling breakfast here at the Castle Keep, venture out with your loved one to one of these blueberry farms to U-pick:
Dees Lakeshore Farm, Fennville, MI
Earl’s Berry Farm, Fennville, MI
Gary Crane Farm, Fennville, MI
Pleasant Hills Farms, Fennville, MI
Brookside Farms, Martin, MI
Brookside Farms, Gobles, MI
Heintzman’s Blueberries, Gobles, MI
J&J Blueberries, Bloomingdale, MI
Joe’s Blues, Bangor, MI
Stoke’s Homestead Market, Grand Junction, MI
True Blue Farms, Grand Junction, MI
Mitchells Blueberrys, Grand Junction, MI
Munjoy Blueberries, Pullman, MI
Beard’s Produce, Dorr, MI
The Phunny Farm, Holland, MI
Riverbend Farms, South Haven, MI
Degrandchamp Blueberries, South Haven, MI
Sparks Blueberry Farm, South Haven, MI
Stephenson Farms, South Haven, MI
Brookside Farms, Paw Paw, MI
Morrison’s Sunny Fields, Paw Paw, MI
Schutlz’s Fruitride Farms, Inc., Mattawan, MI
*Many of these locations do not have websites, but at this website you are able to see a full listing and specific addresses of all of the above u-pick farms