Sudden Summer Sizzle Helps State’s Berry Crops Make Up for Lost Time
NASHVILLE -- After a long, cool, rain soaked spring, Tennessee’s typical hot and humid summertime weather is here. The sudden shift is helping the state’s crops make up for lost time, which is especially beneficial to the farmers who grow much anticipated local berries, peaches, plums, apples and pears.
Tennessee’s berry crops, formerly in slow motion, have responded to ideal summer conditions by maturing at top speed, according to TDA’s agritourism and farmers market coordinator, Pamela Bartholomew.
“Fruit crops have a shorter season than many popular vegetables, like squashes or corn that can be found for four or five months straight,” Bartholomew said. “Most berry crops have no more than two months. That makes customers much more aware of the time of year they’re available, and when crops ripen really early or lag far behind, the crops and the customers can miss each other.”
“Most people have a certain time frame in their minds for crops like blackberries and blueberries,” Bartholomew said. “We remember picking blackberries in the fence rows with a grandparent on the 4th of July, or visiting an apple orchard in October. This great farming weather is getting fruit crops, from blackberries and blueberries to peaches and apples, back on track.”
“From what I’m hearing across the state, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries are coming on strong, right on top of each other and looking delicious,” says the state agriculture representative. “This is going to be a great year for local fruit crops. We all ought to get ourselves out to local farms and, like those blackberries, take advantage of the beautiful weather.”
Visit www.picktnproducts.org to find local berry patches, orchards and farmers markets with local fruits and vegetables. For more information, contact Pamela Bartholomew at 615-837-5348.
Lemon Blueberry Pancakes
Makes 6 servings
2 egg whites
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup club soda
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon pure lemon extract
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup fresh blueberries
Lightly grease a griddle or skillet and place over medium-high heat.
Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center. Add the egg yolk, club soda, milk, lemon zest, lemon extract, and oil, mixing well.
Fold in the egg whites and blueberries and gently combine.
Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, pour the batter on the griddle. Cook until the tops are covered with bubbles and the edges look dry, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook until golden brown, about 1 minute longer. Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve warm with blueberry syrup.
Note: You can substitute orange or lime zest for the lemon, if desired, but change the extract to vanilla.