Welcome to Alma, GA
You can't do a show on blueberries in Georgia without making a stop in Alma. The blueberry capital of Georgia, Alma produces as much as a million pounds of berries a week during peak harvest season. Georgia is the country's third largest producer of blueberries behind Michigan and Maine, but that fact seems to surprise most folks. But when you stand in a field of blueberries that seems to stretch on forever in all directions, it's hard to imagine that anyone could produce more berries. The fields contain two main varieties with the high bush types bearing first followed by the rabbit-eye bushes (though technically rabbit-eyes are also high bush plants). The high bush plants have to be picked by hand and each bush gets visited as many as four or five times as the berries ripen in waves. The rabbit-eye varieties can be machine harvested and the machines used to harvest them look like strange, land-locked houseboats.
If someone put you in a mine full of loose diamonds and said "help yourself to all you want", would you ever leave? That was the problem that Huitt and I had in Alma. We were told to eat as many berries as we liked and I nearly had to pull Huitt away from an endless sea of blue. And they were absolutely delicious blueberries too. I found myself picking and eating with one hand while picking and holding berries with the other. So even as I was walking back to the Explorer, I was still popping blueberries in my head like some addict whose willpower had long ago vanished.
All you can eat...and t hen some.
So we shot our blueberry show on Thursday night and I'm still not sick of them. I made a Blue-Blue salad with blueberries and blue cheese, a peach-blueberry chutney served with duck, blueberry cornbread, and a orange-blueberry "flancake" clafouti. I haven't seen the footage yet, but I know my teeth have to be stained blue.
Much to do! More soon.