Blueberry season is in full swing in Alabama! Going to a U-Pick orchard is one of my favorite spring and summertime activities with kids. Not only are you getting fresh, local and delicious fruit, you’re teaching your children first-hand that fruit does not grow on grocery store shelves. It starts in the ground at a farm with hard work and care. Luckily there are several U-Pick farms in Huntsville and North Alabama to go blueberry picking!
Our eager picking fingers brought us 30 minutes from Huntsville to Zook’s Orchard in New Market. Only open for its second year to the public, this family blueberry, blackberry, and honey farm not only produces organic berries and honey, Zook’s is a National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat. Which means they provide food, water, cover and places to raise young for wild life in the area. They truly care about the habitat and the products they produce. They particularly focus on supporting the bobwhite quail, which has a steadily declining population in Alabama.
Zook’s Orchard is not Certified Organic, but they do not use any form of pesticides or herbicides and harvest raw and natural honey. NOTE: Keep your babies safe, remember no honey for babies under age 1 due to an increased risk of botulism.
Blueberries and blackberries are commonly listed on the ‘Dirty Dozen’ which lists the top fruits and vegetables that are most likely to be high in pesticides. It’s another bit of information parents need to make smart choices when purchasing produce!
Zook’s Produce Picking Pro-Tips
- If you head to Zook’s, plan on going during blueberry and blackberry season. This typically runs from mid-June to the middle of July.
- BRING CASH or CREDIT CARD. $2/lb for the fruit and the honey is $14/pint jar. They provide a plastic bag lined bucket to use while you pick and they take back the bucket at the checkout and you go home with the bag of berries you picked.
- Kick up your Saturday morning trip to the next level by grabbing breakfast at Beignet Café off Winchester road on the way for coffee and Beignets. If you’re thirsty after picking berries grab your Piper & Leaf Tea jars (I always keep mine in insulated lunch bags ready to go in the car at all times) and get a refill at Flint River Coffee also on Winchester road – they even have a drive thru!
If you can’t make it to Zook’s, blueberries and blackberries can be found at your friendly neighborhood farmer’s market – get some for your summer picnic & smoothies!
Yummy Blueberry Recipes
Blueberries are one of nature’s orginal “SuperFoods”, chocked full of vitamin C, beta-carotene, resveratols, and anthocyanindins, which give blueberries their blue color. This is a fruit with powerful antioxidants! Basically, it is a cancer-fighting superfood. They hold their nutrition best when eaten raw.
1 cup = 15 total Carbohydrates | 60 calories | 4 grams of fiber
Blueberry Honey Powerballs
Makes 15 balls
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup frozen blueberries
Drizzle of honey
1 TBS peanut butter or nut butter of your choice (soy or sunflower works well)
1/3 cup shredded coconut OR cocoa powder to roll balls in
– In a food processor add blueberries, oats, peanutbutter and a drizzle of honey and blend until a thick paste is formed.
– Form into small balls and roll into coconut/coco powder.
– Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes for a more firm texture. Can be frozen and thawed to eat.
Blueberry Banana Frozen Dream
1 frozen banana
1/3 cup frozen blueberries
Drizzle of honey
Add all ingredients into the food processor, blend until smooth texture and enjoy! You may find this becomes too runny. If so, pour into a container and then freeze for an hour then scoop into bowls and enjoy.
Blueberry Watermelon Salad
Star Cookie Cutters
This is the perfect patriotic fruit salad. The jicama adds the white color and radish-carrot like flavor. It’s a great opportunity to introduce your kids to something new!
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Rachel Brown is a foodie by heart and Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator by trade. A mother of two young children, she is always searching for fun and exciting things to eat and create as a family. Rachel moved here from Nashville, TN in 2016 and is enjoying exploring Huntsville and all the exciting things happening here. You can follow her exciting Huntsville foodie finds on her Instagram @RocketCityDietitian or on FaceBook as Rocket City Dietitian.