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August 2014 Country Kitchen

Fresh fruit is one of summer’s greatest assets. From refreshing smoothies and fruit salads to decadent desserts like cobblers and cheesecake, fruit is versatile, delicious and healthy.

Blueberries in particular are packed with antioxidants, vitamins and other nutrients that boost immune systems and fight disease.

As the season comes to a close, visit a U-pick blueberry farm, like Max and Mary Johnson’s in Millry (see page 8 for more about their farm), and freeze your haul to enjoy smoothies, desserts, sauces and more all year long.

“We fill our freezers up every season, and that’s what we live on the rest of the year,” Mary Johnson said. “I like to use what we grow to cook meals for my family. Max helps out some, but I mostly cook everything. He stays out of the way — he likes to eat it.”

Now that the Johnsons’ four children are grown, Mary always chooses quick recipes. She works at least nine hours a day on the farm, so meals have to be simple. Using fresh ingredients straight from the field or the freezer makes it easy, Mary said.

During blueberry season, she enjoys making desserts like cobblers and a delicious blueberry refrigerator cheesecake.

“It’s gotta be easy if I do it,” she said. “I stay outside, and I stay busy picking, selling and delivering our produce.”

When things slow down at the farm, the Johnson children make their way back home, and Mary gets to show off their beautiful produce. 

“They don’t ever come back home around this time of year because they know they have to work,” she said with a smile. “Once all the farming is done, they come back home and we do some cooking.”