One of my most popular posts last month was about Charlotte’s Blueberry Park – a public park in Tacoma that boasts a couple thousand blueberry bushes. And the berries? Are free for the pickin’! (If you missed the post and live in the Tacoma area – go back and check it out!)
When we scouted the park out in mid July, it was definitely on the early side of blueberry season. We decided to wait and let summer do it’s thing for awhile before heading back. Yesterday I decided I couldn’t stand it any longer, so away to the park we went!
So here’s the current blueberry status: there are plenty ripe, for the picking! This would be a great time to go. But there were also many unripe berries, so even if you went in a week or two, you’d find plenty to pick.
If you’ve never been, you might be concerned that this place would get busy and then “cleaned out.” But honestly, there are sooo many bushes and soooo many berries, it’s almost overwhelming. I wouldn’t worry too much about that.
I wanted to show you how much I picked in about an hour’s time with a little help from the kids:
This is roughly 6 cups of blueberries. I had wanted to stay much longer, but honestly the kids were getting restless and it was hot. I had hoped to pick two or three times that amount. I might try going another time next week perhaps by myself or with my husband so we can get the job done!
If you’re planning on going so you can can up some syrup or jam, I thought it might be helpful to give you a rough idea of how much time you’d need to set aside. I’m going to guess in that one hour, I picked about 5 of the 6 cups. I was also moving at a decent pace, even with the kids.
Generally, plan on getting around 5 cups of blueberries per person, per hour picked.
To give you further idea, the Blue Book of canning (Amazon link) calls for 9 cups crushed blueberries to make 3 pints of jam. The recipe for blueberry syrup from the same book calls for 8 cups. If you work with the end in mind, you can begin to think about how much time you’ll need to set aside (and how many extra hands you may need to bring!).
Of course, some of the blueberries didn’t exactly make it home, either! If you’re there to get some serious work done, you might think twice about bringing tiny kids (or just set more reasonable expectations). As I already mentioned, my kids lasted about an hour and I made sure we ate lunch prior to picking. I did ask my kids what they preferred picking – blueberries, blackberries, or strawberries – and they both agreed – blueberries! There are many berries at levels they can reach, no thorns, and it’s a pretty park.
As for what I’ll be doing with these blueberries? I’ll likely freeze them for later or make blueberry jam for our buttermilk waffles. My son also begged me to make him a blueberry smoothie, so some already got used up for that! We’re also still talking about the awesome blueberry ice cream we made with the berries from our last Charlotte’s outing.
- Charlotte’s Blueberry Park
- Homemade Blueberry Ice Cream
- Our Recent Blackberry Picking Outing
- Wild Blackberry Picking & Preserving
I’d love to hear your thoughts if you’ve discovered this park from last month’s blog post. What did you think? I’d also love to hear any tips for blueberry picking or ideas for what to do with all those berries!