Bound Brook blueberries

It was a rare winter afternoon that my black lab, Fisher, and I did not get out for a walk. Be it raining or snowing, we headed to the trails that criss cross Bound Brook Island and immersed ourselves in daydreams of a village long past. We walked by the stone marker of Wellfleet's original one room schoolhouse, across the street to the birthplace of banana king Lorenzo Dow Baker, and finally down to the bay to see what might be jumping.

Come spring, we began to notice the bushes. Matted against sunny hillsides or cowering in the flickering shade of a five fingered pine, greening clusters of low bush blueberry plants covered the island's forest floor. We returned week after week until in early June tiny white berries began to appear. Crowned and firm, they promised a hot July pie for a morning's sweat.

Then summer descended, with its crowds and hurry and our walks first dwindled and finally ceased. Fisher sat lonely on the deck, howling at squirrels and the wind and anything else that would listen. When he chewed up a phone book, I knew it was time to return.

We went this morning, chased by the black flies and green heads and the dripping heat of our own moving bodies. When we reached the trail, I realized we had arrived for a reason. Tiny ripened berries burst from the ground, beckoning us off the well worn path and into the thickets of shrubs and fruit.

The picking was slow. The wild berries yielded only a cup before the flies chased us from their perch, certainly not enough for a fresh baked pie. We ran, fruit perilously clutched in my shirttails and feet pounding furiously, until finally we reached the car and sped away from the bay side bugs.

This afternoon, I sat down to a bowl of the fresh picked berries. The yield may have been small, but the taste was every bit worth the effort. Still, they didn't quench my hankering for a pie. For that, I think I'll head to Coonamessett Farm in East Falmouth. From what I hear, the berries are big, and will be ripe for the picking towards the end of the month. For details and availability, call 508.563.2560.

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All text, photographs, and other original material copyright 2008-2010 by Elspeth Hay unless otherwise noted.