SPRINGVALE - Maine Garden Club (SMGC) met recently at the Springvale Library (443 Maine Street, Springvale, ME) for a lesson in growing blueberries, raspberries and peaches. Our lecturer was Chris Bozack owner of Berry Best Farm in Lebanon, ME, (www.berrybestfarm.com).
Bozack is a former Animal Science Professor at UNH and her husband, John, is also a former professor at UNH and he taught forestry. Their teaching experiences stood them in good stead to run Bozack' family farm in Lebanon. From the late 1940s thru the 1960s it was a chicken farm with upwards of 6,000 hens. Today the Bozacks have over 2,500 blueberry bushes - 11 different varieties on five acres of farmland. They also grow raspberries and peaches, but blueberries are their major producer.
Bozack is a big proponent of the Cooperative Extension Programs in both ME and NH for soil testing and other invaluable services that they provide and she urged any berry farmers in the audience to reach out to them with any questions they might have. She had suggestions for favorite varieties of blueberries and the timetable when they are available and at their tastiest:
Early Season: Duke, Northland, Patriot, Earliblue
Mid-Season: Blue Crop, Blue Ray
Late Season: Jersey, Nelson
She gave attendees a beloved family recipe for her Grandmother Colburn's Famous Blueberry Muffins that her Grandmother presented to each and every person coming to the farm to pick berries. Chris and the family carry on the tradition only with mini-muffins today. The recipe is below. Berry Best Farm is closed for the season but they plan to reopen in July 2016 - best to check with website for the exact date.
SMGC meets throughout the year at the Springvale Library on the third Wednesday of every month beginning at 6:30 PM (unless otherwise noted). The public is invited to attend to sample our meetings to see if you would like to join us. The February meeting will be on Wednesday, February 17th, at the Springvale Library; and the topic will be on composting methods and soil testing by Master Gardener Ron Vincent. FMI please contact in ME - Paula Frodyma at 207-475-8142or in NH - Donna Claveau at 603-332-4860.
Grandma Colburn's Famous Blueberry Muffins
1 cup of milk 1 cup of flour
½ cup oil 4 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs 1 tsp salt
2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
Quickly mix dry ingredients with milk, oil and eggs. Stir in blueberries. DO NOT OVERMIX!! Fill 12 paper-lined muffin cups. Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes - Enjoy!
(Note: visit wwwberrybestfarm.com for more yummy blueberry recipes).