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Wild Blueberries or Italian prune plums?

Allstonian Aug 23, 2007 09:48 AM

Anyone seen them this summer in Boston-area markets? Last summer they turned up at Russo's around August 8th and were there for a few weeks after; it occurs to me that the month is flying by and I haven't noticed them anyplace, and if I want any fresh I'd better look right away!

Speaking of brief seasons, I suspect I'm already well past it but when to the little dark Italian prune plums show up?

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  1. vvvindaloo RE: Allstonian Aug 23, 2007 09:51 AM

    I am in NYC, not Boston, but I just started seeing Italian prune plums this week. Incidentally, I bought them, as well as MI blueberries just the other day.

    1 Reply
    1. re: vvvindaloo
      n
      nutrition RE: vvvindaloo Sep 11, 2007 11:52 AM

      When the prune plums exit, promegranates enter!
      Both have some of the highest levels of anti-oxidants.
      Good for the eyes!

    2. LindaWhit RE: Allstonian Aug 23, 2007 09:52 AM

      I picked up some supposed "wild Massachusetts blueberries" a few weeks ago at Wilson Farms. I thought they were completely flavorless.

      Absolutely NO comparison to the 15 quarts of now "wild" blueberries my sister, her husband, and his friend and I picked down in Easton last weekend at a former U-Pick-Em farm bought out by a developer who has let the land go natural. Those berries are so SO incredibly sweet, even though they're the size of regular blueberries.

      3 Replies
      1. re: LindaWhit
        macca RE: LindaWhit Aug 23, 2007 04:22 PM

        Hate to hear that. I got some great ones last year at Wilsons- they were really tiny and sweet. Was hoping to get them on my next visit.

        1. re: macca
          LindaWhit RE: macca Aug 23, 2007 04:40 PM

          Macca, I usually enjoy the ones I get at Wilson's as well. I'd try a couple out of one of the boxes <grin> before buying them. And these *did* say wild MA blueberries, not wild Maine (ME) blueberries. I've never had a problem with Maine wild blueberries.

          1. re: LindaWhit
            macca RE: LindaWhit Aug 23, 2007 05:04 PM

            Will definitely give it the taste test- which I usually don't do at Wilsons- but I will admit that I ALWAYS taste grapes if I am buying them at the supermarket near my office!
            I used to pick wild MA blueberries in the Fellway woods with my grandfather when I was a kid. They were so good- but that memory could be based on how much fun it was to pick lots of blueberries and then trek them home and bake pies and muffins with my grandfather.

      2. StriperGuy RE: Allstonian Aug 23, 2007 10:21 AM

        Arax in Watertown usually has prune plums this time of year.

        As do the 2 or three green grocers in the North End and Russo's in Watertown.

        1. a
          autopi RE: Allstonian Aug 23, 2007 10:53 AM

          we bought wild blueberries at the farmer's market at harvard (by the science center) on tuesday. i don't remember the name of the stand, unfortunately. they were very expensive--$5 for a container--but are quite tasty. they are actually better than the ones we picked a few weeks ago up at a farm on the north shore (those might not have been quite ripe.)

          1. b
            bella_sarda RE: Allstonian Aug 23, 2007 02:13 PM

            I saw prune plums last year around this time and later at the Union Square farmer's market. The same vendor is there this year (can't remember the name) so I assume they will be available there soon.

            1 Reply
            1. re: bella_sarda
              b
              brendastarlet RE: bella_sarda Aug 23, 2007 02:17 PM

              I just got some yellow Shiro plums and the farmer told me prune plums would be next.

            2. u
              uman RE: Allstonian Aug 23, 2007 02:30 PM

              I was just in Maine and got a 5lb box at Wild Blueberry Land near Machias.
              Those claiming to get "wild" blueberries at farmers market are actually just regular blueberries. If they are not very small, then they aren't the "wild" ones people are referring to.
              Wholefoods carries them in season and maybe some other more upscale markets.
              If you are in Maine you can buy them in traditional supermarkets.

              Wild Blueberry Land has the best blueberry pie hands down!

              3 Replies
              1. re: uman
                Allstonian RE: uman Aug 23, 2007 03:33 PM

                I know the difference between wild and cultivated blueberries, which is why I was asking specifically about wild. While it's true that most farmer's market blueberries are cultivated, I've occasionally bought wild at the markets as well. And the wild blueberries I got at Russo's last year were definitely real wild ones.

                1. re: Allstonian
                  a
                  autopi RE: Allstonian Aug 23, 2007 08:24 PM

                  we are also aware of the difference between wild and cultivated berries. the berries we got from the market are definitely smaller than your average blueberry. they were labeled as "wild," and they seemed to be priced accordingly.

                  1. re: autopi
                    t
                    tdaaa RE: autopi Sep 11, 2007 11:43 AM

                    Technically, "wild" is somewhat incorrect. The very small berries that we get from Maine are native lowbush blueberries. Most that we get are actually farmed and encouraged (pruning on year one, mowed to the ground after harvest in year 2) rather than being truly wild. The large, tasteless NJ/MI berries that are so prevalent in local supermarkets are high-bush berries that are more amenable to cultivation and mechanical harvesting. One of the reasons that "wild" blueberries are more expensive is that there does not seem to be a efficient mechanical harvesting system - they are generally picked by hand.

              2. e
                emilief RE: Allstonian Aug 23, 2007 04:17 PM

                Just bought wild blueberries at Volante's Farm in Needham,

                1. v
                  veggielover RE: Allstonian Aug 23, 2007 04:28 PM

                  I saw prune plums at Volante Farms in Needham last Sunday.

                  1. litchick RE: Allstonian Aug 24, 2007 06:48 AM

                    Lots of prune plums at Copley farmer's market...

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: litchick
                      Allstonian RE: litchick Aug 24, 2007 01:09 PM

                      Today? I was there a couple of hours ago (an hour-long trip from work to get there, shop, and get back, yikes) and I didn't see any. I did get a nice little head of celery, some chanterelles, and a pint of blueberries (not wild, but very nice!), so it wasn't a total loss. Still, a bit of a disappointment after all that.

                    2. dchow RE: Allstonian Aug 24, 2007 08:54 AM

                      just got some yesterday at the brookline farmers' market at the little orchard stand near the sidewalk (dick's, i think it's called). nice running into you there, striperguy!

                      1. heathermb RE: Allstonian Aug 24, 2007 09:56 AM

                        Boston Organics is offering 5lb boxes of wild maine blueberries until they are no longer available. I received a box today and I'm trying to freeze them but they keep finding their way to my mouth instead!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: heathermb
                          Allstonian RE: heathermb Aug 24, 2007 10:02 AM

                          Can you make individual orders from Boston Organics, or do you have to be signed up for their program? I'm already in a CSA.

                          1. re: Allstonian
                            heathermb RE: Allstonian Aug 24, 2007 10:06 AM

                            Good question and I'm sorry I don't know the answer. You can email them directly from their website and they always respond very quickly.

                            http://www.bostonorganics.com

                            Sorry I can't be more help!

                        2. preserves RE: Allstonian Sep 9, 2007 03:26 PM

                          Unfortunately, italian prune plums took a beating this year. According to some local (NJ) area farmers, you will find much less prune plums in the farmers markets this fall. It is (perhaps) why you are not seeing as many prune plums in the farmers markets this Aug/Sept.

                          1. t
                            tpapa2 RE: Allstonian Sep 9, 2007 08:22 PM

                            FYI - I bought Italian prune plums at Russo's today as well as wild blueberries.

                            1. b
                              BikeToEat RE: Allstonian Sep 10, 2007 07:57 PM

                              Costco in Dedham had large boxes (maybe 3 lbs) of Italian prunes on Sunday. They were in excellent condition.

                              1. k
                                katzzz RE: Allstonian Sep 11, 2007 07:11 AM

                                I bought wild Maine blueberries on Sunday at Russo's -- first time I've seen them there this summer -- after spending all August wondering when -- or if -- they would finally show up. They were more expensive then years past, $6.99 for a quart box. Which makes me wonder: Was this a bad year for harvesting the wild things? Or has overseas demand diverted the wild crop elsewhere and driven up the price here? In any case, glad not to have missed them entirely in '07!

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: katzzz
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                                  smtucker RE: katzzz Sep 11, 2007 08:08 AM

                                  This was not a good year for wild blueberries. Usually, I visit my folks place in the 'far north' and pick quarts and quarts and quarts of wild blueberries. Enough to satisfy my family's cravings for all things blueberry for the entire year. [Wild blueberries freeze very well.]

                                  This year, I was lucky to find enough enough for a single batch of muffins for each day of picking. Only have about a quart in the freezer this year, which is very sad.

                                  North country folks have many theories about the lack of berries, since the plants flowered really well this year. Some blame Al Q'ueda, others blame rain at the wrong time, and others suspect that the big bee kill-off this summer is to blame.

                                  1. re: smtucker
                                    l
                                    latertater RE: smtucker Sep 11, 2007 08:16 AM

                                    I generally buy wild Maine blueberries frozen at Market Basket. Not as good, but available year round for the most part....

                                    1. re: latertater
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                                      nutrition RE: latertater Sep 12, 2007 03:27 PM

                                      Plums and Prunes have the highest Potassium levels of any fruit and perhaps any food!!

                                    2. re: smtucker
                                      threedogs RE: smtucker Sep 12, 2007 06:09 PM

                                      Bee kill-off is what I was thinking. Man, that's scary...

                                      1. re: threedogs
                                        n
                                        nutrition RE: threedogs Sep 14, 2007 12:52 AM

                                        Costco Carmel has Organic Blueberries.3# frozen Bags
                                        Trader Joes has Organic Wild Blueberries 1# Frozen Bags

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