Tomorrow we're planning (barring any children related issues) to drive down to Temecula and pick blueberries. I'm still somehow astounded that somewhere as hot and dry as Temecula can grow blueberries, let alone support a farm of them, but talking to people who have been there its apparently a very nice u-pick destination for families. $5 a pint for fresh picked blueberries. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I'm bringing a cooler of ice and a lot of zip lock bags to partially fill with berries then chill on the drive back- and make jam & syrup.
June is Cherry season in most of SoCal, but sadly the odd weather we had in early spring ruined the blossom set ( hot, then freezing cold, then hot again) and what little fruit the trees had is splitting with this week's crazy not-normal-for-this-climate thunderstorms. We usually drive out to Beaumont or Cherry Valley to pick cherries, and one by one each has posted on their websites that they are closed for u-picking this year. I checked out www.pickyourown.org to see what other local farms there are- and saw theres another whole cluster of fruit farms in Leonna Valley, about an hour north of Los Angeles and about a 90 minute drive for us via the 15 & Pearblossom Highway. Yvonne sent me the link for a huge cherry orchard there, Villa Del Sol (www.upickcherries.com) and WOW, 25 acres of cherries, and they are open for picking starting tomorrow. I am hoping we can go up and check it out on Sunday, get a few pounds and check the place out, and if its really awesome go back next weekend and get the "jam batch", 20 pounds or so.
Depending on how much blueberries we get Sat I dont want to have too much fruit sitting around in my fridge and kitchen waiting to be canned. I prefer to focus on one fruit's products at a time if possible, so its as fresh as can be from the farm to the jars quick as I can well, can. This year I wanted to try my hand at canning some pie filling as well as my usual jam, and I like to freeze a good 2 gallon bag worth as well of everything for "fresh" use later on.
Then in july comes peaches and nectarines....oh yummy! *drools*