Blueberry farmers share favorite recipes

Blueberry farmers

Bring Some Home and Get Cooking!

By Ann Smith

It isn’t your imagination. Lakeshore blueberries really are hot stuff.

West and southwest Michigan boast a mix of conditions that make blueberry bushes flourish. It’s partly the acid soil of wetlands and pine forests, blueberry bushes’ favorite soil to grow in, explains Carlos Garcia-Salazar, a small fruit educator at the MSU Ottawa County Extension Office. It’s partly the perfect spot the water table’s in, just below the bushes’ shallow roots. And as much as we love the lakeshore’s sunny summer days, gloomy weather at other times is the final ingredient for healthy bushes and
delicious berries. “Overcast skies typical of Michigan lakeshore are the perfect conditions to produce high quality berries,” Garcia-Salazar said.

In Ottawa County alone, 6,100 acres are planted with blueberries on dozens of farms. Urban St. asked some of those farmers to share favorite recipes for our favorite fruit. 

Amy Wysocki, part of the team at S. Kamphius Blueberries on Holland’s north side (now run by the fourth and fifth generations), chose her grandmother’s every-summer recipe for a dessert that verges on blueberry cheesecake, but is easier. How does maple syrup in blueberry muffins sound? Pleasant Hill, an organic farm in Fennville, produces both berries and maple syrup, so Joan Donaldson combines them in her muffins — and now you can, too. She also shared her husband’s family’s fruit salad recipe that makes the most of Michigan peaches and blueberries. From Blue Star Farms, another grower in Fennville, there’s cobbler they attest is the best. And Kim Neppel, proprietor of Coastal Society Cocktail Bar, Boutique and Eatery in Douglas shares a new blueberry cocktail recipe. So, let’s get cooking.

Return to our Recipes section over the coming weeks for these and many more tasty dishes.