Teresa and Jesus Silva are known for their strawberries. Eight of their farm's 25 acres in Clear Lake, Wis., are devoted to this delicious member of the rose family, and pints of picked-that-morning berries were dominating the Country Lane Farm stand at the University of Minnesota's busy farmers market last week.
"Here, try one," said Teresa, and the ripe, ruby-red berry was so heavy with juice that it trickled down my chin when I took a bite. That's pretty much the definition of summertime heaven, right? The couple also cultivate raspberries, sour cherries ("they make really great pies and ice creams," said Teresa), apples and plums, but I was in the mood for their blueberries ($5 per pint). The indigo-colored berries, which averaged the circumference of Kix cereal, were still blurry with blush.
"They're so good because we pick them the day you buy them," said Teresa, who should know; she's been in the berry business for 19 years. Sold. On my way back to the car, I popped one in my mouth, and it fairly burst with sweet blueberry flavor -- is it possible for something to taste purple? -- and then another, and then, well, many.
My mind began to race with possible uses, rewarding each idea with a small handful of berries. Over my morning Cheerios? Mixed with yogurt? On top of pancakes? Into smoothies? Inside a coffee cake? Before I knew it, a quarter of my purchase had spontaneously turned into lunch. Lesson learned: When it comes to local berries, always buy twice the amount you think you need.
Country Lane Farm, University of Minnesota Farmers Market, SE. Church St., Minneapolis. Open 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays.
Find blueberry recipes at Table Talk, the Taste food and restaurants blog, at startribune.com/tabletalk.