June is a pretty special month in the House of Gjertsen because it contains:
- our anniversary (today! 11 years!)
- Abby’s birthday (next week!)
At least in Florida, blueberries come out in June, their season usually bookended by Memorial Day and Independence Day. We can’t remember the first time we picked blueberries, but it’s been our tradition for at least the last seven years to drive up to North Florida (usually on our way to Abby’s parents in Tallahassee) and indulge in “U-Pick” heaven. It is a sacred ritual. The only year we didn’t pick we were living in the Ronald McDonald House while James was in the NICU, and it felt like skipping Christmas or something.
There is something about picking blueberries fresh from the bush that seems so magical. The fact that a food so rich in nutritious antioxidants can taste so richly sweet, grow on a bush without thorns, and ripen in clusters so abundantly that a single hand can gently squeeze and pop off sometimes 15 berries at a time seems so… prelapsarian. For us, a blueberry bush in season seems to symbolize the lavish grace of God, and many years—including this one—an hour standing in the middle of a cluster of blueberry bushes can absorb a lot of cares and anxiety.
The joy of picking blueberries, of course, is consummated in the eating of blueberries. This year we tried a new U-Pick blueberry farm and serendipitously discovered a U-Pick peach orchard about a mile down the road!
Peaches, though not as perfect a food as blueberries (they can’t stack ripe without bruising, they have inedible pits, etc.), ripen in the same season—and the two together at the peak of their freshness baked into a flaky, buttery pie crust is… indescribable.
We left a few unpicked if you’re nearby and interested… both Madison Peach Farm and Hilda’s Blueberries are off of Dusty Miller Avenue just east of Highway 145 (NE Colin Kelly Hwy) in Madison, Florida. Madison Peach farm is only open Saturdays and Sundays, and the season for both should last a couple more weeks.