Update August 14, 2011: There are no more berries at this location. They have been picked clean. Head to Jones Family Farms and Bishop’s Orchards instead.
If there’s anything possibly better than strawberry picking, it has to be blueberry picking. Whether you grow your own, have a favorite wild patch to visit annually, or take advantage of the many pick-your-own farms in the state, it always seems to be a joyful and untaxing experience (think no bending over). The chatter on the ride or walk home invariably circles around blueberry muffins, pies, and dumplings. This year, our eyes are on blueberry sorbet and ice cream to help break in our new ice cream maker.
Fairfield County residents might not know about a spectacular spot to pick blueberries – Aspetuck Land Trust. Aspetuck Land Trust was established in 1966 and is a local, 1,000+ member supported, non-profit organization dedicated to preserving open space in Easton, Fairfield, Weston and Westport. Members help support the maintenance of the nature preserves which include 800 blueberry bushes in Trout Brook Valley. Every year the blueberries need to be pruned, fertilized and mulched. When I renew our family membership each December, I feel as if I’m buying into a blueberry share and eagerly look forward to picking the following July.
If you’d like to pick your own blueberries at Aspetuck’s orchard in Easton, please visit them online to arrange to become a member. Then park at Elm Drive trail head where you can pick up a map and hike up to the “orchard” labeled on the map. Directions to Elm Drive trail head: From Merritt Pkwy Exit 44/45 Rte 58 North and drive along the West bank of the Hemlock Reservoir (scenic!), make a left on Norton Road, then a left on Freeborn Road, and a right on Elm Dr. where you will park at the trail head. Once at the orchard, walk through the gate and turn right, then walk down the hill to the blueberries. Please wear a hat, carry a water bottle and apply sunscreen. Bring your own containers and a cooler with ice packs to get the field heat off the blueberries quickly. Be sure to refrigerate them at home, that is if you haven’t already eaten them all.
The Land Trust maintains 42 trailed preserves on over 1,700 acres. To learn more or to become a member, visit www.aspetucklandtrust.org or call 203-331-1906. Memberships start at $35 for individuals; families can join for $50.