Sunday, June 29, 2008
"Patience, young grasshopper," Alyssa tells me after listening to me whine about the sad state of my community garden. It's late June and I had expected to bring bundles of zinnias to my colleagues by now. I have a few green tomatoes, first buds on my squash, and my pole beans are only now starting to twine around the poles. I had nothing to complain about to my kid sister; her Idaho garden, after all, received snow a couple of weeks ago, yet she manages crops of carrots, chard, lettuces, and potatoes. She's much more patient than I am on all accounts.
If the Columbia Farmer's Market provides any indication of how farms are faring in the Ozarks, my measly little loess-based patch of land is anomalous. Tables of berries, chard, onions, zucchini, mung bean sprouts, bok choy, lettuces, tart cherries, dill, Thai basil (and so on) encourage me to shell out gobs of money every Saturday to support local farmers. The bright green leaves pouring out of my refrigerator all week are, indeed, a welcome sight. My garden will come around one of these days, if my compost is as healthy as it looks and I'm patient with our cool, wet climate.
So, for the past few Saturdays, I've rushed down the street to the market without brushing my hair to score pints of blueberries and cherries. I can eat my weight in berries and decided I should carve out my Sunday afternoon at a you-pick berry farm just outside of Columbia. To my dismay, the Little Cedar Berry Farm is now closed to you pickers and the other Boone Co. farm doesn't grow blueberries. But scattered throughout the Ozarks, one can spend as little as $1.50 for an entire pound of blueberries, but only at you-pick farms.
I called several sites this morning on my search for open blueberry farms. A complete listing of all Missouri you-pick farms can be found here, but make sure you call each farm before you go; hours and availability are not accurately listed on the website for each season. The following are currently open for blueberry season (directions and phone numbers can be found here).
LaClede Co., near Bennett Spring State Park: TCB Blueberry Farm, open July 1
Greene Co., in Rogersville: Sunshine Valley Farms
Moniteau Co., near Jamestown: Missouri Highland Farm
Pulaski Co., on Hwy. D outside of Dixon (home of a great bluegrass festival): Meyer Tree and Berry Farm
St. Charles Co., near St. Louis: Wind Ridge Farm (open July 1)
Posted by Allison Vaughn at 4:35 PM