Blueberry Bliss

blueberry | She Paused 4 Thought

Blueberries are just not my favorite fruit… simply because they’re not. I buy them because I love their color and I want to love their flavor, but… sometimes they’re bland and mushy.

So why did I find myself with twenty pounds of blueberries in my kitchen last week, enough to almost fill my bathtub? Well, let me tell you something, blueberries in season, fresh from the farm, are another matter entirely. If you have ever eaten a blueberry fresh from the bush, you will understand.

blueberries Fairfield Farms Pauma Valley ca

When I popped my first, off-the-bush berry into my mouth it burst with a wonderful tart flavor that ended on a sweet, blue note. The texture was firm, with no hint of that mushy-ness I have known. I became immediately addicted, and didn’t stop tasting until my mouth, hands, and palate were blue.

blueberries Fairfield Farms Pauma Valley ca

They tasted so good I just couldn’t help myself. I went crazy and came home with an entire garbage bag full. You would too, if you visit Fairfield Farms in Pauma Valley, so consider yourself warned.

blueberries Fairfield Farms Pauma Valley ca

I found out about this beautiful organic farm from fellow blogger Erika of who graciously organized this tour.

blueberries Fairfield Farms Pauma Valley ca

Harrison Steed, our tour guide, escorted me and ten other berry inquisitive food bloggers. He and his brother are working on software that provides traceability and analytics for farms – It tells the farmer who picked what, where they picked it from, how much was picked, and what time it was picked. He shared with us the inside story to blueberry picking.

The Journey of a Blueberry

 Blueberries are picked by hand in their prime.

blueberries Fairfield Farms Pauma Valley ca

They are immediately transported from the field to a processing plant where they are sorted by hand. Every box is traced back to the worker who picked it and to the row it was picked from.

blueberries Fairfield Farms Pauma Valley ca 

The berries are loaded on a conveyor belt and pass through a machine that takes thousands of pictures every second to detect the color of the berry. If it senses green or red berries, it shoots a beam of air at the berry and launches it into a tray of unripe berries.

blueberries Fairfield Farms Pauma Valley ca

The cleaning machine sorts for small and unripe berries.

blueberries Fairfield Farms Pauma Valley ca

Next the berries travel down a line of workers who are looking for defective berries that were not picked out by the machine.

The blueberries end up in a basket that is then poured into a machine for final packaging.

blueberries Fairfield Farms Pauma Valley ca

Back In The Field

 We picked, and ate, and picked and ate, until we were almost blue…

blueberries Fairfield Farms Pauma Valley ca

And even the sunburn and blue stained fingers were worth it.

blueberries Fairfield Farms Pauma Valley ca

You are never too young or too old to pick blueberries. There are berries for every height level and for even the pickiest palates.

Where to Pick Organic Blueberries

If you want to pick blueberries, here is the address.
Fairfield Farms – 14224 Old Cole Grade – Pauma Valley, CA 92061
Contact them at 760-742-5191

Picking season is May 1st – June 1st, Thursday through Sunday between 8am to 6pm.
Prices are $5 a pint.

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Being on this farm made me realize how much I miss being barefoot in the dirt with the sun on my shoulders, tasting food straight from the source and sharing it with my family. In response, I brought home twenty pounds of farm fresh blueberries, which, for better or worse, were planted in my refrigerator and freezer. Months from now I will wake these luscious berries from their cozy frozen sleep, make another pie, and recall my new found love of this special fruit.

I’ve eaten enough berries in the last 2 days to stain my fingers and teeth. My first baked item is a blueberry pie from the Farm House Cookbook by Susan Herrmann Loomis. Delish!

berries from Fairfield Farms

Now, what to do with the other eighteen pounds… it will be such fun to decide.
…and then, she paused for thought



About Cathy Arkle

Cathy Arkle is a food blogger, culinary explorer, graphic artist, and cooking class junkie. Her inspirations come from her travels across the globe (50 countries) in the last 20+ years partaking in various ethnic cuisines while working as a graphic artist for major networks (NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX & ESPN). She has collected a few Emmys in the field of graphic design for sports & entertainment. Cathy is also a graduate of the Pro Chef courses at The New School of Cooking in Culver City, CA

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22 Responses to Blueberry Bliss

  1. Christina May 4, 2014 at 10:28 pm #

    Wow! That’s a lot of blueberries, but I have gone blueberry picking in Michigan and can understand why you picked so many. I too, don’t have blueberries at the top of my “favorite fruits” list, however, when I eat them, I really like them, and I tend to forget about this until the next time I eat them!

    Your pie is gorgeous, Cathy!! You’ll put the rest of us to shame! 🙂

    • Cathy May 5, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

      I hear you Christina. I won’t forget about blueberries this time as my freezer is packed with them. 🙂

  2. Susan Herrmann May 5, 2014 at 12:17 pm #

    Cathy – so fascinating, that traceability situation. Those berries get such tender, loving car. Lucky people who get to buy and eat them!

    Bon App!

    • Cathy May 5, 2014 at 2:38 pm #

      Thanks Susan. It is crazy amazing how trackable our food is. I wish you were here to eat some of these fab blueberries.

  3. Judy at Two Broads Abroad May 5, 2014 at 2:07 pm #

    That pie is absolutely beautiful!!!

  4. Cathy May 5, 2014 at 2:39 pm #

    Thanks Judy, it tasted pretty good too! We demolished it in a day.

  5. Cheri Newell May 5, 2014 at 3:42 pm #

    It’s amazing how much work goes into a package of blueberries! I love them when they’re not mushy as well! The pie looked beautiful… can only imagine the taste!

    • Cathy May 5, 2014 at 4:07 pm #

      I was in awe of how they package blueberries as well. The pie was the best one I have made and I know it was because the berries.

  6. Kim - Liv Life May 5, 2014 at 3:49 pm #

    I have a pie just about to enter the oven!! My husband has been asking for one for … well… 2 years, and now I don’t have any excuse as I came home with the same amount of blueberries. We have been eating them mostly out of hand, and yes, they are simply irresistible! Your photos are gorgeous and you truly capture the day!

    • Cathy May 5, 2014 at 4:05 pm #

      Thanks Kim. Another great way to eat them, especially on a hot day is to put them in the freezer for about an hour. They are better than popsicles. Enjoy your pie.

  7. Christina Peters May 5, 2014 at 8:57 pm #

    Great shots Cathy – that pie looks amazing and I bet it tasted fabulous. Can’t wait to go on another tour with you

  8. Leslie Macchiarella May 5, 2014 at 10:18 pm #

    Must have now: sunburn and blue stained fingers — if this is what it brings. What a romping fun adventure! And the pie looks like a contest winner to me.

  9. Lentil Breakdown May 6, 2014 at 8:56 am #

    Wow, you are on a farm roll! Maybe you should go up and down the coast touring farms and cooking/blogging what you picked! I want to see the inside of the pie, but how could you deface a work of art?

  10. nusrat2010 May 6, 2014 at 7:33 pm #

    As always, such an interesting, fun, informative post! I love blueberries anyway…mushy, tart, bland 😀 Their pretty purple skin tone and juice make me happy 🙂

    And thanks a ton for the blueberry pie recipe.
    Nice to see that you had a fun time at the farm with your pals.

  11. sue/the view from great island May 12, 2014 at 7:52 am #

    I love this, it brings back wonderful memories of picking blueberries in New England. There’s nothing like eating right from the bush!

    • Cathy May 12, 2014 at 8:07 pm #

      I so agree with you. Fresh blueberries is such a great experience.

  12. sippitysup May 18, 2014 at 8:36 am #

    I’m going to have to start calling you farm girl. GREG

    • Cathy May 19, 2014 at 9:31 am #

      Yes Greg, I will always be a farm girl no matter how big of a city I live in.

  13. Lynne @ CookandBeMerry May 24, 2014 at 6:33 pm #

    What an fun tour! That’s interesting about the air blast to blow out the unacceptable berries. What will they think of next? Your pie looks stellar.

    • Cathy May 26, 2014 at 12:53 pm #

      Thanks Lynne. I always learn so much on farm tours. The pie tasted pretty stellar as well.

  14. Christy @ Confessions of a Culinary Diva June 25, 2014 at 3:05 pm #

    What a fun experience! There is no way you can leave without 20 pounds of blueberries!

    • Cathy June 26, 2014 at 9:30 am #

      So true Christy! I am still enjoying the blueberries that I have left in the freezer.

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