Depending on your exact location, it has been a good year or a bad year for blueberries. White Fox Farm, located above Freestone Valley, lost a lot of their crop to late rains. This year, they are selling only at the Occidental Bohemian Farmers Market on Friday afternoons.
On the other hand, Duckworth Farms, in the Canfield Road region of south Sebastopol, has its best crop ever, thanks to winds that kept the berries dry during spring storms.
Sonoma Swamp Blues, on the edge of the Laguna de Santa Rosa at the foot of High School Road in Sebastopol, is open for business and is selling their plump blueberries at the Sebastopol Farmers Market (10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sunday in the town plaza).
This year, Duckworth Farms berries are as delicious as they’ve ever been, the best in recent memory, with a pleasing texture and engaging juiciness. Because they are not at all mushy or overripe, they work beautifully in both sweet and savory dishes. Duckworth Farms blueberries are available at Oliver’s Markets and Community Markets; they come in little compostable boxes and are certified organic.
As we’ve explored before, blueberries are like little vitamin pills. They contain more antioxidants than any other food, along with vitamins A, C and E and small amounts of B vitamins, including niacin, riboflavin and folic acid. Their trace mineral profile is good, too, with potassium, copper, iron and zinc. They have plenty of dietary fiber and 3½ ounces, one scant cup, contain just 57 calories.
You’ll notice that in today’s recipes that the berries should be cut in half or quarters, which can seem like a tedious task until you actually do it. It doesn’t take long, especially if you have the right knife. The best is a porcelain paring knife or tomato knife from Kyocera and available at local cookware stores such as Cultivate Home in Sebastopol. These knives retain their sharp edge for a long time, are inexpensive and will be replaced at no cost if they break.
At “Eat This Now” (at pantry.blogs.pressdemocrat.com), you’ll find links to blueberry recipes from the Seasonal Pantry archives, including pasta salad with blueberries, cucumbers, feta and fresh herbs; blueberry and corn relish; chilled blueberry soup with burrata; warm chicken liver salad with poached eggs, bacon and blueberries; blueberry chutney; blueberry barbecue sauce; blueberry vinaigrette; blueberry cole slaw; blueberry shrub and more.
This simple risotto makes a delicious dinner on a hot night and is even better when paired with the butter lettuce salad that follows this recipe. It is also delicious served with duck, chicken, seared chicken livers, pork and venison.
Blueberry Risotto with Burrata
Makes 3 to 4 servings
5 cups homemade broth or stock, hot
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 small shallots, minced
¼ teaspoon ground clove
— Kosher salt
¼ cup Carnaroli or Vialone Nano rice
2 cups local blueberries, cut in half
1/3 cup Thai basil leaves, torn into pieces
3 tablespoons mascarpone
1 round of burrata
3-4 lemon wedges
Add 1 cup of water to the stock and keep it hot over a low burner.