California blueberries – Misty, O'Neal, Jewel, Star, Emerald, Millennia.
It was the last week for most of the blueberry venders at the farmers markets this week … except one at the Old Oakland farmers market who will be selling until the end of the July.
“How do you do that … especially in the Fresno/Stockton area?” I asked. “I’m from New England. Don’t blueberries need cold weather.
He told me that there are blueberry varieties for warm weather locations … oh.
Some of the varieties listed in the title. Here’s an article about local, so to speak, blueberries.
Here’s another interesting article …
“A California blueberry research pioneer is Manuel Jimenez, small-scale farm advisor for Tulare County. Eight years ago, he began researching varieties at the UC Kearney Research and Extension Center near Parlier that over time have numbered 52 different types … Jimenez has isolated four or five blueberry varieties that, he says, “aren’t perfect” for the San Joaquin Valley, but getting close”
Then it isn’t my imagination that California blueberries have been getting better over the last few years. Then again the next time I have a Maine blueberry, it will probably be like East Coast pizza … I’ll think how could I have so deluded myself to think Cal products are in the same league.
So I went balmy for blueberries this week. I tried six varieties from the Berkeley Thursday Farmers Market, Old Oakland Farmers Market and Berkeley Bowl.
I wish like strawberries, the farmers start listing the varieties. It does matter. The only local farmer that did that has retired. At least I know to ask next year.
Here’s the list in order of preference;
1 Sorensen’s Triple Delight. Fresno. Last week at Old Oakland Farmers market
These far outshone the other berries. The small, crisp berries were full of flavor.
They are sold in May and June currently. However, the website says they are planting more varieties to extend the season. Super … super nice vendor. The Sorensens, fifth generation raisin farmers, named their farm after their three “delightful” daughters. Mr. Sorenson was also delightful … and so were the blueberries.
2. Bluest of Blue will be at the Old Oakland farmers market until the end of July.
Medium-sized and good but not as flavorful as Triple Delight. A few points off for having about a half dozen soft berries in the mix.
3. Bluets, Stockton, Bought at Berkeley Bowl
A medium berry that had good flavor and they were at a great price.
4. Victory Island, Holt. Bought at the Berkeley Bowl
A medium berry that was very close in taste to the Bluets. Not as crisp though. Good price
5. Delta Blues. Last week at the Thursday Berkeley farmers markets
The two organic berries came in dead last. These medium berries were crisp but not very flavorful at all. They were too tart and could have used some sweetness for balance. I'll probably use these to make a crumble with some sweetner added.
6. Stemilt. Stockton. Bought at the Berkeley Bowl
Organic berries that are large and a little too watery tasting. I never have had a large blueberry in any part of the country that I though had good flavor.