Stormy weather cools down blueberry adventure
Rick & Roll icon Fats Domino has his Blueberry Hill. Film Director, Screenwriter David Lynch has his classic film Blue Velvet. The Sanford family has now claimed Deep Spring Farm as their every Summer Blueberry respite.
Jana Sanford-Heller, her daughter Penelope Rain Heller, and the GLOB Master headed North to Alachua and Deep Spring Farm 10 miles due North of the city of Alachua on 16419 W County Rd 1491. There we were GLOBers in spite of ominous looking black clouds and thunderstorm warnings the Sanford's were determined to pick their fair share of extra large, deep purple, juicy blueberries.
The DSF website offers and inviting suggestion for a very special afternoon:
Welcome ~ Aloha ~ Namaste.
Deep Spring Farm holds space for you to connect.
Pick organic blueberries… Explore spring fed pond recreation… Have a picnic on the waterfront under sprawling live oak trees… Attend community events… Tour the hydroponic greenhouse and take greens home… Volunteer to get farmfit… Host a wedding or other private event celebration… Buy seasonally available organic produce… Practice yoga… Relax in a yoga swing…order flowers and arrangements… Tour agricultural and ecology restoration projects… Camp out… Plan a photo shoot… Teach a workshop…Help with a FL LakeWatch monitoring session…
Thanks to the recommendation of the GLOB's Eating Healthy Columnist Dr. Michelle Cardel we were on our way to Deep Spring Farm organic blueberry and seasonably available produce to check what sounds like a piece of heaven right here in North Florida.
We arrived just after the rain had stopped and met DSF co-owner Leela Robinso who had been waiting inside for the rain to stop.
"Now that is perfect timing if I have ever seen such a thing," Leela said extending a hand in greeting. "I checked the temperature just now and it is a lovely 72 degrees," Leela added.
"These Summer storms bring back a lot of memories of waiting under giant golf course trees for the rain to stop and we could continue our round of golf," I said looking up and seeing a high gray sky with no real storm clouds apparent.
Mike and Leela Robinson have created a beautiful setting of organic, flourishing blueberries, hydroponic lettuce and many other varieties of fresh grown produce.
"Our hydroponic lettuce has been popular at the farmers markets," Mike said proudly. "People like the fact there isn't any grit, or sand on my lettuce," Mike added with a confident smile.
"Last year it was a tough blueberry season so I decided to prune out plant back and it really paid off," Mike added. "But you all are here to pick blueberries, and our plants are absolutely loaded with really big, plump berries." he said.
Now the GLOB Master has picked his share of blueberries. I don't remember seeing blueberries stacked on the plant stalks on top of each other like these little corn like rows of blueberry goodness.
Leela has created a handy set of gallon jug with a shoulder strap allowing that you to pick blueberries with both hands. And like the character's in the Wizard of Oz we were off to fill our buckets with plump blueberries down the blueberry way.
The six foot tall berry bushes made for perfect height and ease of picking as we filled our jugs in a fast, fun successful manner.
That was a good thing because Mike wanted to show us his green house of hydroponic lettuce, and Leela was bragging about her organic produce as well.
Standing under a giant magnolia tree Penelope asked if they ever picked the magnolias because she loved their smell. It was a great surprise and a perfect ending to a very special family afternoon when farmer mike surprised Penelope with her very own magnolia.
Kudos and much GLOB applause to to the Robinson's for taking the correct approach toward local farming, community partnering, and sustainability. I'm going back to pick some more blueberry after the next big rainstorm. There are still are a lot of blueberries left out there with the GLOB Master's name on them. FOLLOW THIS LINK for Father's Day Blueberry picking information.