Wednesday, December 6, 2017

A Blueberry for All Seasons: Josh Pond Handpicked Wild Maine Blueberries Delivers "Blue Jewels"

Josh Pond Maine Blueberries 
Josh Pond is a small organic farm in Whiting, Maine that specializes in wild blueberries. The berries arrive looking for all the world like blue jewels packed together in a frozen jewelry box.
Photo courtesy: Asia Coladner














And in a way, they are more precious... After all, good food ingredients are true luxury.  Now you can gift the best blueberries. 

Photo courtesy: Asia Coladner

Situated near Maine’s rugged northeastern coast, the Josh Pond farm surrounds Washington County - one of the few places in North America where the wild blueberry still flourishes. Josh Pond says it is committed to providing consumers with the healthiest, most flavorful blueberries on earth and takes care to tend to and harvest its berries in an environmentally sustainable manner that helps keep Maine healthy, beautiful and wild.
The Beal family tends to its 100+ acres of their Josh Pond farmland, in addition to the 16 beehives, and dairy goats.  

Though most blueberry operations use mechanical harvesters to maximize volume, Josh Pond holds fast to the region’s centuries-old traditional method of raking blueberries by hand in the early morning when the berries are coldest and least likely to bruise. This attention to detail percolates through every aspect of the business. Josh Pond is certified organic by MOFGA and believes that organic, naturally biodiverse farming practices create the healthiest, best-tasting berry while also keeping Maine's land and sea ecosystems free of chemical pesticides and fertilizers.

There are a few New York City restaurants spotlighting recipes and dishes made with the sustainable, Josh Pond wild blueberries from Maine, including:
Notably, each of these restaurants and ice cream shops source their blueberries from Josh Pond, the family-run organic farm producing wild blueberries in the traditional way. Josh Pond also ships wild Maine blueberries direct to doorsteps nationwide and year-round, so consumers can get a taste of Maine anytime--even if you can't dine on New York’s best blueberry dishes.

Yes, you can order these delicious, teeny, flavor delights any time -- by mail! Josh Pond sent me a 5-pound box, fresh-frozen, to try out. In turn, I immediately recommended to friends who rushed to order a box. I made a recipe for Italian Bread Pudding with blueberries and marscapone that I sourced from the Greenmarket.
This is a delicious recipe to gift, by the way.  A perfect confection for holiday tables.  The Josh Pond berries burst with flavor even when baked.

Italian Bread Pudding with Blueberry (recipe courtesy  Union Square Greenmarket) 

INGREDIENTS
About 3-4 Cups bread cut into ½ inch pieces (a hearty crusted bread works best)
3 eggs
1 C milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp butter or margarine
½ C brown sugar
¼ C plus 1 tbsp white sugar
zest of 1 orange
1 pint blueberries
8 oz mascarpone cheese

INSTRUCTIONS

Place diced bread in a bread pan
In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs, milk, cinnamon, vanilla and the brown sugar until well combined
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Pour egg mixture over bread and allow to soak in until all liquid is absorbed (about 15 min)
Cover with foil and bake for 45-60 minutes until bread pudding is firm and all liquid is gone.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes (this can be made in advance 1-3 days if needed).
In a mixing bowl, combine mascarpone cheese, 1 tbsp sugar, and orange zest until well combined. Refrigerate until ready to assemble dessert.
In a small sauce pan, combine blueberries + ¼ C sugar and cook over medium heat smashing blueberries until blueberries turn bright purple (about 5-10 min)

To assemble: slice bread pudding into three ½ " thick pieces and sauté in a pan with the melted butter (about 1 minute on each side).
On a plate spread ½ C orange cheese mixture, then layer bread pudding slices and top with blueberry compote.

The Josh Pond blueberries are smaller than the ones you now see in the grocery stores (I recently read that South America is now growing golf-ball sized berries for China. Yikes!) I grow my own New Jersey blueberries -- the highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum).  The Pine Barrens growers claim they are the “blueberry capital of the of the world).  The Garden State berries are excellent but understandably seasonal.

On the other hand, the shipped, Josh Pond blueberries are the lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium); come neatly packed and are easy to divide up and use as needed in your daily smoothies, topping your cereal or ice cream, or in cooking and baking.
Photo courtesy of Asia Coladner
Photo courtesy Asia Coladner 
The health benefits of blueberries are widely known.
Moreover, it should be noted that the wild berries not only offer vitamins C and K, along with manganese, dietary fiber, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, the wild blueberries contain almost double the antioxidants and half the sugar of the cultivated berries!

Now, you can enjoy the tart, naturally sweet taste and nutrition benefits all year long.
Shipped Josh Pond blueberries arrive thoughtfully packed. Photo: Leeann Lavin 

Berry Art - Josh Pond blueberries arrive.  Photo: Leeann Lavin
Josh Pond blueberries are an ideal, All-American gift to give, especially this holiday season. I highly recommend these tasty treats.  Just think of a "Pond Punch" made with these "blue jewels" - or the next day's Holiday or New Year's Day pancakes made with fresh blueberries.
photo courtesy of Asia Coladner
Or Blueberry Muffins!

Photo courtesy of Asia Coladner

Do you have a favorite recipe to share?













The incredible blueberries are available all year for nationwide delivery via Josh Pond website.  You can order a single shipment of 5 pounds of frozen, wild, organic Maine blueberries ($50) or sign up for a monthly delivery for 3, 6, 9, 0or 12 months via the Josh Pond Monthly Club.
Now that's a gift that keeps on giving!   You'll be thought of all year long... 






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