It just so happens this winery produces blueberry wine and boasts acres of hearty blueberry bushes. Blueberry wine is something unfamiliar to me, but Keel and Curley has a lovely tasting bar housed in what seems to be a new building stocked with the fruits of their labor. Our palates did not appreciate the sweetness of this wine, but yours might. We did like the slushy-type frozen drink they offered in mango or blueberry flavors. They warned us it's loaded with alcohol. Pool party! On our way out, we picked up a promotional postcard advertising U-pick blueberries as part of the festival activities.
The next day was blueberry-picking day. I drove out to the winery, which is located a short distance off I-4 in Plant City, and merged into festival traffic. Wow! I didn't realize this event would draw such a crowd. After spending a half-hour in a line of cars waiting to park, I entered the wonderful world of blueberries. As I headed to the fields, I passed a line of fellow pickers waiting to check out. This wasn't just any line. It rivaled the lines for a new roller coaster at Busch Gardens. I almost bolted for my car, but I had waited in that traffic and, by golly, I was going to get my $3/lb. berries.
During my hour or more in the peaceful fields, I noticed people from all walks of life enjoying the ingenuous task of picking berries. I saw young adults, families, older folks, rich, poor, black, white, yellow and brown people. It's remarkable how something as simple as a berry can unite such a diverse group of people.
By the time I filled my bucket, someone had figured out how to get that line moving and it was only about 20-people deep. I left with five pounds of beautifully ripe blueberries, clothes soaked in perspiration and an overwhelming desire to make jam. And that's just what I did.
If you would like to pick your own fruits and vegetables, check out this Web site: http://www.pickyourown.org/. It lists U-pick farms and contains recipes and advice.