Raspberries! I picked 3 quarts of gorgeous raspberries at Makielski's excellent berry farm last Thursday afternoon. It may have taken me close to 2 hours, but it was a beautiful sunny day and I was distracted by how pretty the berry fields are. My plan for the berries was to make my special raspberry-rose jam to enter in Downtown Home and Garden's Jam Contest on October 6th.
The Makielski's don't spray with insecticides - only baking soda to keep powdery mildew at bay. But they say they don't mention that to customers until after they've picked - they don't eat as many berries that way. When I asked how long they had been in business, they told the story of how they started 55 years ago putting in 10,000 strawberry plants on their hands and knees one spring. When a drought hit that summer, they lost all their strawberries and had to re-plant again the following year. It was clear that even 54 years later, they still feel the pain of those hours. They don't grow strawberries any more because the grocery stores in our area put California berries on sale here when Michigan's June berries appear and Makielski's can't compete.
This fall they have red, yellow and amber raspberries available for picking at $3 a quart. Some of the red raspberries were the biggest I've ever seen - about half the size of my thumb. And I picked up a big jar their great raspberry-blossom honey for $6.
Makielski Berry Farm
7130 Platt Rd. (just past Merritt)
Ypsilanti, MI 48197
Hours: 8am - 8pm, 7 days a week August - November
Mrs. Makielski recommends this recipe from a customer as "a real winner!"
Gloria's Raspberry Muffins
2-4 T. butter, softened
1/3 C. white sugar
1/3 C. brown sugar
1 C. milk
1 T. vanilla
1 C. flour
3/4 C. oatmeal
1/2 C. pecans, chopped
1/2 t. salt
2 t. baking powder
1 C. raspberries
Cream together butter, sugars. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and vanilla. Beat into butter/sugar mixture. Stir in remaining dry ingredients just until mixed. Gently fold in the 1 C. raspberries. Bake at 400º for 15-20 minutes.