Here's the Scoop: August 20, 2013

Feeling Berry Blue
Every year is different when it comes to “crop production.” It seems there’s no such thing as average anymore. The growing season either yields a lot of certain fruits and vegetables — or not much at all.
The weather, naturally, is the factor that determines these yields. This year, blueberry fans are very happy. Apple lovers, too.
Blueberries, in case you didn’t get the memo, are “nature’s powerhouse.” These little bundles of goodness carry substantial health benefits. Plus, they taste good. Let’s face it, most foods that are “good for you,” are not suited to the taste buds of the general population. Kale comes to mind. Save your letters, I have great respect for kale — but it won’t make my list of desired foods. Ever.
On the other hand, I know there are some folks who don’t like blueberries, but not very many. Blueberries don’t really have many offensive qualities. They don’t involve peeling. Their taste is pleasant, yet not overpowering. As a bonus, they turn your teeth a really freaky shade of blue for a short period! Neat. Plus, blueberries are easy to spell — unlike raspberries.
Add in the cancer-fighting benefits of blueberries and there really are no drawbacks. The other great thing about blueberries is that they “go with anything.” Toss them on cereal, into a pie, make a “crumble” or scoop them in your mouth by the handful. You really can’t go wrong.

Love those things
My wife and I (in case you hadn’t guessed) are big fans of blueberries. As a result of our shared taste, we actually planted some blueberry bushes this year. The bushes came “pre-berried,” so we got to sample some of the fruit, but I think the bears got more than us. That’s OK, next year we’ll be primed for a big season. There’s even a chance we may add a few more bushes to increase the yield. The bears will be thrilled.
In the meantime, as blueberry season quickly winds down, we are eating the farmers’ market version of this fruit and getting some stocked away in the freezer. There’s nothing quite like a piping hot blueberry cobbler in mid-February to take the chill off mid-winter. And provide optimism for warmer days ahead.

Core crop
As noted, apples are also abundant this year. Our property sports a handful of apple trees and most of them are heavy with fruit. Unlike blueberries, which pretty much all taste and look the same (assuming some mad scientist hasn’t been messing with nature), apples come in countless varieties with a huge range of flavors and textures. Honestly, I’m not a big fan of most types of apples.
I’m not sure what types of trees we have near our house, but I would describe the fruit as “sour/gnarly.” At least no one is stopping by for free samples. Even the bears.
Of course, a big year for certain crops is always seen as a predictor of a harsh winter ahead. In this day and age, such outcomes have become too difficult to forecast. The only thing is I know for certain is that the winter may be cold. Or warm. Snowy. Or not. There will be ample blueberries in the freezer to help get us through.
— Brian Sweeney