16 August 2011

Tougas Farm

We're still living like tourists in Somerville, Mass. We cook in someone else's kitchen, with their kitchen implements (and my knives). All of our stuff is still in storage in San Diego (and will be until we move into our new home on Sep 24th). But living like tourists has an advantage. We're still very much in the "exploring Boston" mode.

In that vein, we decided to explore what delicious things could be grown locally. In southern California, citrus and avocados were the specialty. Here, it's blueberries.

We spent the morning at Tougas Family Farm, west of the city. They have a broad variety of things they grow, but this time of year, it's the blueberries that are available for picking.


Their business model is a clever one. Get people out. Charge them to walk in the field ($3/person). Then credit that towards however many pounds of blueberries you rake in.

Very soon, they'll be selling blackberries.






U-pick locations have an inherent conflict built into them. Pickers want to only pick from the easiest to reach branches with the largest clusters of fruit. Farmers want the highest percentage of their berries to end up being sold, which means the high branches, low branches and less dense clusters end up getting picked. I watched with dismay as pickers spent two minutes per bush, blowing past me to pick only the easiest-to-reach bunches.


After an hour of picking over a few half-picked bushes, we went home with nine pounds of blueberries for about $30, less than half of what you'd pay in a grocery store.


There are muffins and pancakes in our future...

Tougas Family Farm
234 Ball St
Northborough, MA
Hours vary

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