Love Memphis blues? Try these berries!
Most times I use Memphis and blue in the same conversation, I’m talking music. Or suede shoes. But today, I’m talking berries: organic ones plump as pin cushions, sweet as sunshine and blue as first night-fall – ‘til they bleed violet on your hands.
The berries are growing at Windermere Farms & Apiaries, the only certified organic farm in the state of Tennessee west of Jackson.
You wouldn’t guess it approaching these fields, a slice of green between two homes within a northeast Memphis subdivision. But Freida Lansing will tell you all about it if you ask. She might even dart your kids around on her golf cart or point them to the farm’s rope swing.
Freida and her husband, Ken, started planting the land that runs alongside their home in 2000. Today, they’ve got plenty to share. Stop by the farm between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday (Wednesdays excluded – you can find the Lansings at the Memphis Botanic Garden Farmers’ Market that day instead) to pick strawberries, blackberries and blueberries in season. At the market, they sell the berries – plus a slew of their other homegrown goodies from Swiss chard to honeycomb. (They also sell Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon at the Agricenter Market.)
Now I’ve picked peaches and strawberries and raspberries and blackberries. But I’ve never picked blueberries. Though I see Ken and Freida every Wednesday at the Botanic Garden market, I wanted to come by my blueberries the hard-working way.
So I packed up my daughter and a couple of friends, dredged the group in sunscreen, and headed to Windermere Farms.
When Freida handed me an empty box, I never thought we’d fill it. It was hotter than a steaming cobbler that afternoon and anyway, what was my family of three going to do with a gallon of blueberries?
Then we got to picking. And sampling a berry or three. And laughing every time someone in our picking party jumped at the rubber snakes Ken and Freida nested in the bushes to scare the birds.
And we filled that box nearly to the top.
In the small space left, we added the last of Windermere’s blackberry crop. Sorry about that. But Freida says the blueberries will be around for you to pick or buy at market for another six weeks or so. Good thing: Our gallon was gone within three days (minus the ones I’m hiding in the freezer for a cobbler…don’t tell my family).
‘Tis the season to pick your own, folks. Where do you like to go, and what do you like to pick? For a bounty of ideas, find farms, markets and more on the Pick Tennessee Products website. And tuck Freida’s recipe for frozen yogurt-covered blueberries away. It would make a beautiful addition to your July 4th spread:
1. Take two cups Greek yogurt and one carton fresh blueberries. Add local honey to sweeten the Greek yogurt to taste.
2. Stick a berry with a toothpick and dip/swirl in the yogurt/honey mixture. Use a second toothpick to push the yogurt- and honey-covered berry off onto a cookie sheet.
3. Do this with all of the berries and place the cookie sheet in the freezer. After an hour, you can pop them off the cookie sheet and into a storage bag or container.