We have a thing for blueberries. And we know a few things about blueberries: it’s no accident that we chose this luscious berry as Eat The Fine Print’s signature flavor. Blueberry season heralds the arrival of real summer in our hometown of Juneau, Alaska. “What do you say we sneak up on some blueberries this afternoon?” Dad would propose, and we were off, down the road and into the woods. The woods were very quiet. Only the plunk of the berries hitting the bucket and then, after they’d covered the bottom, no more plunk. Dad draped the white plastic bucket on a cord around his neck and picked with both hands.
As a boy, Dad earned money picking blueberries and selling them to the City Café for a dollar a gallon — cleaned! He could pick ten gallons on a good day. Wild blueberries are smaller than farmed ones, so ten gallons was no mean feat! Dad would carry on a conversation while he picked with us kids, his fingers gathering on autopilot, stripping the branches, passing over only the green and unripe ones. Wild blueberries grow best where they don’t have to compete with big trees. They like the land the glacier has recently left, and they like clearcuts and the strips beneath power lines. Growing up berrying, we had never heard of antioxidants; we didn’t know that the blueberries that grew wild in our woods were loaded with more nutrients than any other fruit. Now we buy berries at the store… haven’t seen any for $1 a gallon lately.