On the Indiana/Michigan border, we have the perfect soil for growing blueberries—acidic, on the sandy side. In July and early August, it’s U-Pick time.
Our family loves the Blueberry Ranch in Mishawaka, just east of South Bend. Tucked away down a little country road, it’s 80 acres of blueberry bushes with nine varieties of berries, all USDA certified organic.
When you arrive, you pick up a bag-lined bucket and head out to the field, keeping your eyes peeled for an orange flag. That’s where an employee with a walkie-talkie greets you and assigns you to a bush. Pick all the fruit on that bush, and you get another. It’s an incredibly efficient system.
The plump indigo berries, frosted with their silvery-white “bloom,” just fall into your bucket. Plink. Plank. Plunk. It’s impossible not to think of Blueberries for Sal, Robert McCloskey’s wonderful 1949 picture book.
“Did you pick all those yourselves?” the woman at the counter asks my daughters, eyeing their full buckets, when she rings us up. “In about 10 years, you come back here and I’ll give you both summer jobs, okay?”
That makes me smile, because she didn’t see all the ones they ate.
The Blueberry Ranch
54743 Buckeye Road
Mishawaka, IN 46545