Just as strawberry season in Florida wanes, blueberry growers are preparing for their big season.
If you're seeking a family-friendly activity, consider dropping by Stafford Blueberries, a pick-your-own blueberry farm at 3111 John Moore Rd., Brandon, just north of Bloomingdale Avenue.
The farm features two acres of blueberries grown in above-ground pots for easy picking. Owners Joy and Doug Stafford grow five varieties of blueberries: Princess, Sapphires, Jewels, Emeralds, and Prima Donnas.
They furnish the buckets and take-home bags. You furnish the labor.
The price is $6 a pound, cash only, and the blueberries will be available through mid-May.
In addition to fresh blueberries, the Staffords sell blueberry jam and fresh local honey along with bottled water for thirsty pickers.
Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m.
Wondering what to do with your fresh-picked blueberries. The Staffords' website offers recipes including this recipe for Billy Doug's Best Blueberry Buckle:
Billy Doug's Best Blueberry Buckle
Ingredients: 1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup milk
4 to 4 1/2 cups blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1. Melt margarine or butter in a 1 1/2 -quart Pyrex dish or Corning Ware skillet. Sift together flour, sugar and baking powder. Slowly add milk until the mixture is the consistency of waffle batter. Drizzle batter over the melted butter. DO NOT stir it into the butter.
2. Dredge the blueberries in 1/2 cup of sugar. Arrange berries over the batter and spoon any remaining dredging sugar over the berries.
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes. The buckle is done when the batter is beginning to brown.
4. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.