The Blueberry Lane Berry Farm, west of Frankford on (what else) Blueberry Lane, hosted its third annual blueberry festival on July 16 and 17 — the “Red, White & Blueberry Bluegrass & Blueberry Magic Food & Family FunFest & Craft Show.”
And that’s quite a mouthful.
Co-proprietor Lisa Webb said they’d seen plenty of “u-pick” foot traffic as the season draws near a close.
Blueberries will only be on for another week or so, but she said they were falling from the branch in clusters.
“One lady just came through — she’d picked 14 pounds of berries in 20 minutes,” Webb pointed out.
Webb said blackberries would start coming on toward the end of the month, and after that, “Siberian kiwis” would be available (think kiwi fruit, only without the fuzz, and berry-sized).
Webb’s husband, Joseph, and family friend Dave Size — an organic farmer from New Jersey — jumped into the business five years ago. They’re now midway through their fifth season.
Ironically, most of the farmland west of Frankford was originally used for growing grains to support the poultry industry, Size said. The land had been drained and reclaimed from the Cypress Swamp and was therefore very acidic and high in organic content, he said.
Farmers had to apply a lot of lime to make the corn and soybeans grow, Size noted — but the soils were perfect for growing berries just the way they were.
He swore by the health benefits of blueberries (there’s a section on the Web site, www.blueberrylanefarm.com, with more details), and offered a few recipes, like “Blueberry Barbeque Chicken” or “Blueberry Beef Burgers.”
Blueberries and beef? Sounds strange, but Size said the recipe made for very tender and juicy burgers — without changing the underlying taste.
He said they’d offered regular and blueberry burgers side by side, and found the blueberry burgers outselling plain old beef by far.
“Now that blueberries have been ‘discovered’ and this being perhaps the last commercial berry farm left on Delmarva, we thought it would be a good experience for the kids and families — to visit a working farm,” he said.
On July 16 and 17, though, it was more like a carnival than a working farm, though – complete with live music, a clown act, a dunking booth, a moon bounce and slide, and, of course, plenty of blueberry ice cream and pie.
Turnout was fair to middling, despite the high heat and humidity. Size said he hoped the festival would one day acquire a reputation as a local tradition.
For more information on Blueberry Lane Berry Farm, call (302) 238-7043 or take a drive in the countryside, westward on Blueberry Lane.