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Blueberry heaven: U-pick farms offer the popular summer fruit
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Blueberry heaven: U-pick farms offer the popular summer fruit

During the middle of summer, fruit fans gear up for picking the blue-hued berry which is perfect in everything from salads to desserts.

Blueberry season in the Midwest hits its prime during July and runs into August.

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At many farms throughout the Region, families can easily round up the kids to embark on a blueberry picking adventure. People willing to go out and pick the fresh berry will want to dedicate at least a couple of hours to the fun task.

Various farms are also open during the week in addition to weekends for people to pick their own fruit. Most of the farms also have already picked berries on hand to sell.

The following is a sample list of places to pick blueberries. Call individual farms for prices and other information about the picking process.

Blueberries of Indiana

Where: 2388 W. 1000 N., LaPorte

Hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Closed Tuesdays.

More info: 219-326-8686, blueberriesofindiana.com

• Blue Sky Berry Farm

15552 S. 1050 W., Wanatah

Hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

More info: 219-733-2416

Eenigenburg Blueberry Farm

Where: 6721 W. Ind. 10, DeMotte

Hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays.

More info: 219-987-2957, demotteblueberries.com

• Joe’s Blues

Where: 60687 34th Ave., Bangor, Michigan

Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern daily.

More info: 847-293-1690, joesblueberries.com

• Johnson’s Farm Produce

8960 Ridge Road, Hobart

Hours for blueberry U-Pick are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

More info: 219-962-1383, johnsonsfarmproduce.com

• Merrillville Farms

Where: 6716 S. Colorado St., Hobart

U-Pick hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays to Fridays; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Blueberries are organically grown.

More info: 219-947-0223

• Stateline Blueberries

Where: 9957 N. Frontage Road, Michigan City

Hours for picking are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

More info: 219-874-7721, statelineblueberries.com

If you've gone blueberry picking and have a multitude of the sweet fruit, here's a recipe to try using the berries.

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BLUEBERRY STREUSEL TART

Servings: 10

Start to finish: 5 hours (35 minutes active)

300 grams all-purpose flour (about 2 1/2 cups)

1/4 teaspoon table salt

2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes and chilled well

3/4 cup (3 ounces) slivered almonds

3/4 cup sugar

5 cups blueberries

Vanilla ice cream for garnish

DIRECTIONS: In a large bowl, stir together the flour and the salt, add the butter and, working quickly with your fingertips or a pastry blender, mix the dough until most of mixture resembles coarse meal, with the rest in small (roughly pea-sized) lumps. Transfer 2 cups of the mixture to a medium bowl (reserving the rest for the streusel topping), drizzle 4 tablespoons ice water evenly over the 2 cups and gently stir with a fork until incorporated. Gently squeeze a small handful: it should hold together without crumbling apart. If it doesn't, add more ice water, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, stirring 2 or 3 times after each addition until it comes together.

Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and with the heel of your hand, smear the dough in a forward motion on the work surface to help distribute fat. Gather the smeared dough together and repeat the process. Form the dough into a disk. Chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 1 hour. Meanwhile, add the almonds and the sugar to the reserved flour-butter mixture and mix well to make the streusel topping. Chill.

Remove the disk of dough from the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before rolling it out.

On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough 1/8-inch thick. Transfer the dough to a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, ease the dough into the pan, pressing it into the corners and trim off any excess dough hanging over the top. Prick the dough all over with a fork and chill it for 1 hour. Remove the streusel topping from the refrigerator.

Put a large rimmed baking sheet on a rack on the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Fill the rolled-out tart shell with the berries and top the berries with the streusel mixture, pressing the mixture down gently. Bake the tart on the sheet pan for 30 minutes. Cover the tart loosely with foil and continue baking until the filling is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack for 20 minutes. Remove the side of the pan and let cool completely about 45 minutes. Serve each portion topped with ice cream.

From Associated Press

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Entertainment Editor/Features Reporter

Eloise is A&E Editor and a food, entertainment and features writer for The Times, subjects she has covered for over two decades in and around the Region. She was the youngest of eight in a Chicago household filled with fantastic cooks and artists.

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