Because it’s almost impossible to wash blueberries without tasting them (first one, then another, then…you know how that goes), while the Accidental Locavore was rinsing off some blueberries from Stokes Farm, I started nibbling. These were perfect New Jersey berries, big, round, robust. It got me thinking how much blueberries reflect their terroir. Think about it, so much of the Garden State is big, round and robust. From the Sopranos to the Jersey Shore and don’t forget the current governor, everything is very large and in-your-face. Whereas the same cannot be said for Maine. Like the blueberries, it’s wild, withdrawn and challenging. And where famous people in New Jersey are larger-than-life, in Maine they are thinner and more discreet. As a matter of fact, how many celebrities can you name from there? That’s what I thought.
But back to the blueberries. As much as I will probably be disinherited for saying this (yes, I hear the scratching out of my name as we speak), I love New Jersey blueberries! They are big, meaty and full of flavor. You can bite into them. Maine blueberries are small, very small and really only available for a couple of weeks in August. They have a good taste but I find because of the size, the ratio of skin and seeds to flesh is a little excessive. They also seem to be extremely fragile, or else they just don’t like long car rides, as every time I try to bring some home, they end up one step closer to being jam.
My mother on the other hand, refuses to acknowledge any berries that come from south of the Maine/New Hampshire border. Her famous raspberry-blueberry pie cannot be successfully made (according to her) with interloper berries from a mid-Atlantic state. Me, I’ve grown to like and accept blueberries from either place, enjoying the plump ones from New Jersey as well as the tiny Maine berries. Whatever is in season is good by me! What about you?