Blueberry Adventure Part 2

Dear Liza,

We ate a delicious lunch at Topaz Farm. This property used to be Kruger’s, but was sold last year to a lady named Peggy, who happens to be a friend of Auntie Katie’s.

We ate cheeseburgers and visited with the chickens, and then Auntie Bridgett drove us home on a long winding path through lots of cool neighborhoods of north Portland.

Once we had rested, Auntie Bridgett and I got down to the business of saving all those blueberries!

We developed a good system last year, and improved on it this year. With her sharp eyesight, Bridgett is in charge of washing the fruit and picking out the under-ripe ones. It took several batches in the sink to get them all done.

As she rinsed the berries and put them in a colander to drain, I collected them. They rested on a towel-covered baking sheet for a minute to get the extra water off. (If you do this, make sure to use a towel you don’t care about, because it will get stained.)

When the berries were dry enough, I used a big cup to help hold the freezer bags open and put the berries in by handfuls until the bags were a little more than half full, and carefully sealed them up airtight.

I laid them in the freezer in a single layer, and once they are frozen solid, I will stack them like beautiful blue bricks! Yum!

But of course, we didn’t freeze ALL of them. We nibbled quite a few as we went, and I baked a cobbler from a recipe I found last year on the ‘net. I don’t know what it is called, because when I copied into my cookbook I called it “Better Blueberry Cobbler” to differentiate it from “Martha Stewart’s Blueberry Cobbler.”

Whatever it is called, it is delicious! Here is the recipe if you feel like cooking.

Better Blueberry Cobbler

The recipe calls for an 8 by 8 baking pan, but I use a 7 by 9 because that’s what I have. You will mix the topping in two different bowls.

In the pan, put 3 cups blueberries, 1/4 cup orange juice, and 3 tablespoons of sugar.

In a small bowl, mix 2/3 cup flour, 2/3 cup oatmeal, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and a pinch of salt.

In a bigger bowl, soften 1 cup of butter and beat in 1/2 cup sugar, 2 eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla until it is all light and fluffy. Then blend the flour mixture into the butter mixture and plop it all on top of the berries. Smooth the topping out with damp fingers to avoid doughy parts.

Bake at 375 F for 40 minutes, let cool a bit before serving. Great with any kind of cream!

Not all adventures end so deliciously!


Grandma Judy

Blueberry Adventure Part 1

Dear Liza,

Just north of Portland on the Columbia River is a 26,000 acre farming community called Sauvie Island. It is nothing like the rest of Portland, being mostly farms and woods. It is like being a million miles away from the theaters, traffic and pizza joints of the city.

On Saturday we went up for an adventure. First thing, once we crossed the bridge onto the island, was we drove down a road we’d never been down, and followed it until it ended. We saw houseboats along the narrow Multnomah Channel, lavender fields, and eagles’ nests perched on top of power poles.

When we got to where the road ended ( it sort of faded from paved road to gravel to dirt), we turned around and headed towards our favorite you-pick blueberry place, Columbia Farm. They were really crowded on this lovely holiday Saturday, and had opened their auxiliary parking lot. They let us use our boxes from last year, which made me happy. I hate throwing perfectly good boxes away.

We headed out to the fields and passed families with wagons heading back in…. With lots of berries! We had to look pretty closely to find enough to fill our eighteen small baskets, but we got them all full.

I love being in the fields and picking fruit. Maybe it is because my parents were farmers and I grew up valuing the folks who get our food to us, or maybe it’s just fun to be out in the sun and fresh air, hearing birds and other people’s conversations.

I even found a tiny, abandoned hummingbird’s nest, tucked safely in a bush. I left it so the birds could use it again next year.

We picked only blueberries because that’s what we like best, but many folks also picked raspberries and blackberries. A lady had a boxful that was so pretty, I asked to take its picture. She very sweetly said yes.

We filled our boxes and paid up (Fifty dollars for too many berries to carry) and put them in the car. We were hot and sweaty and…. Hungry!

And on to the next adventure!


Grandma Judy

Sauvie Island

Dear Liza,

The Tiny Sauvie Island Bridge

Sunday, we went to the farm. Several farms, in fact, and all just about 25 minutes north of Downtown Portland. We went to Sauvie Island!

This island is where the Willamette River meets the Columbia, and at 26,000 acres is one of the largest river islands in the country. It is almost all farmland, flat, green, and beautiful. We drove up highway 30 and crossed the tiny Sauvie Island Bridge over the Willamette Channel, which is only about 20 feet wide, and there we were.

No Partridge, just pears

First we stopped at a lavender farm. It was small, and the season was just over, but it was sure nice to walk around and see the flowers, as well as pear trees on the property.


We got hungry and stopped at Kruger’s BBQ for lunch. Friendly people, pulled pork, salmon sandwiches and corn on the cob put us right. Bridgett was in heaven, walking around in the incredible sunflowers, zinnias and chickens. She likes to talk to chickens, but these were busy and didn’t talk back to her.

Tall Yellow Joy!

Further along, Grandpa Nelson must have read my mind, because he found Columbia Farms where we got to pick our own blueberries. My farming genes must have wanted to get out and stretch, because it sure felt good to be out in a sunny field, picking the food I was going to eat. It only took about 20 minutes to get our flat full. We grabbed a couple ears of fresh corn for dinner and headed off. We drove the rest of the way around the island and headed back into town.

Happy Berry Pickin’ People!

On the way, Auntie Bridgett realized we needed a few things from the market, so we stopped the New Seasons in the northeast part of town. We found some new things and had a sort of food adventure. By the time we had shopped, we were done in.


Just waiting there..



Grandma Judy