Blueberries and Lavender

by Cynthia

Summer is sure flying by and I seem to be as busy as ever these days. I had originally wanted to write this post a couple of weeks ago but just could not seem to find the time to pull it all together. Better late than never though so here goes!

One weekend last month my family and I took advantage of the beautiful U-pick farms out by us. We paid a visit to a U-pick blueberry farm as well as a lavender farm that was having a U-pick (or more like U-cut) weekend to go along with their lavender festival. Some readers might remember this lavender farm from my post on it last summer. It is one summer daytrip I always look forward to.

Lavender Valley in the Hood River Valley

There is nothing more enjoyable then harvesting your own lavender from those fields a buzz with bees. This particular lavender farm has the most beautiful views of both Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams. The lavender combined with those views is very peaceful and relaxing.

Lavender fields with Mt. Hood in the background

Even though I posted quite a bit of pictures from this lavender farm last year I just could not resist posting some more.

Lavender a buzz with bees

The blueberry farm we paid a visit to that same day was equally as beautiful as the lavender farm. I do not think there is an area of the Hood River Valley that is not breathtakingly beautiful! The whole valley is a feast for the senses.

View from the blueberry farm

The blueberry farm also had an incredible view of Mt. Hood. Can you imagine waking up to this view everyday?

View of Mt. Hood from the blueberry farm

The kids had so much fun filling our buckets with blueberries. My now almost 3 year old daughter also had a blast running up and down the rows while stealing samples of the sun warmed berries. I was in love with how gorgeous the berries were hanging from those pretty shrubs. I almost spent more time photographing the berries than actually picking them! My boys and husband made up for my slow picking though. I was amazed by how much they were able to pick.

Beautiful blueberries ripening in the summer sun

We came home with so many berries we were able to not only eat them fresh but I was also able to can several quarts of blueberry pie filling on top of sun drying some during that ridiculous heat wave we recently had.

Blueberries ready for picking

I also was inspired by all the lavender we picked and came up with an interesting twist on making blueberry jam. I ended up making several jars of blueberry lavender jam. Everyone seems to like it too.

To make the blueberry lavender jam I basically followed the directions that came with my box of pectin. The only thing different I did was I placed several fresh lavender flower tops (10-12) into a mesh tea ball infuser. I then placed this lavender filled tea ball into the jam and kept it there while everything was brought to a boil. When it was time to ladle the jam into my jars I simply removed the tea ball. The jam turned out really good and has just a slight hint of lavender to it. Nothing overwhelming or too much; it is more like an afterthought than a pronounced flavor.

This summer has certainly been the summer of U-pick farms and canning for us. We hope to get out to the farms in the next week or so for the peaches and that will be followed by the pears. After the pears comes the apples and that is what I am really looking forward to. I hope to make lots of applesauce, apple butter, and pie filling. I am attempting to gather up some recipes for the peaches, pears and apples so if anyone knows of some good ones I am all ears!

As I struggle to keep this blog up to date I hope all my readers out there are enjoying their summer as much as I am.

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