The annual Mossyrock Blueberry Festival (www.mossyrockfestivals.com)was yesterday, August 7, and nearby Pan American Berry Farm (212 Klickitat Creek Road) was packed with tourists loading up on their annual supply of blueberries. We buy between 80-100 pounds every year, enjoying some fresh and freezing the rest for our daily protein shakes. Though the festival is over, Pan American will remain open until Labor Day if you want to get some.
As I stood in line waiting to get another 40 pounds of blueberries, I heard snippets of conversation….”they say blueberries are one of the best things you can eat for health…” From my Nutritional Therapy background, it is soul satisfying to see people interested in securing their part of the blueberry harvest and securing greater health at the same time.
Blueberries are one of the richest sources of antioxidants and even prevent urinary tract infections like cranberries do. They are excellent brain food too, “Earlier research suggests that oxidative stress may be a factor in age-related loss of brain function. So, we fed antioxidant-rich blueberries to aged lab rats in one study and to mice with Alzheimer’s-like symptoms in another and found improvement in memory function and motor skills in both…” James A. Joseph, PhD.
It’s interesting to note that blueberries are a rich source of the trace mineral manganese which helps in tendon control. I did a nutritional therapy consult Friday at our optometry office; Medical Vision Center in Morton, with a woman in her early 60’s who had ptosis. Ptosis is when the eyelid droops, obscuring the vision. A drooping eyelid acts as an early warning indicator that tendons are losing integrity in the whole body which can lead to ankle sprains and even tinnitus when the tiny bones of the ear are affected with weakening of tendon control.
Blueberry consumption to increase manganese is part of her answer. She was also advised to take a Complete Mineral Supplement like the one we carry at the office from Designs for Health(www.designsforhealth.com.
We had guests for breakfast Saturday at Adytum who enjoyed dairy free/gluten free pancakes from the Bob’s Red Mill mix topped with blueberry compote fresh from the fields in the valley below. Those fields will turn the loveliest russet color soon so if you want blueberries, come before Labor Day when Pan American closes for the season.
I made an interesting compote starting with blueberries, water and cornstarch to thicken, then adding cinnamon, Mexican chocolate and orange peel shaved thin with a microplane. My husband pronounced it, “Awesome…off the charts”. I added honey also purchased from Pan American. It was the best compote I’ve created yet and everyone loved it on the pancakes. One guest was an adorable six year old little ballerina who sat beside me and pronounced breakfast “really good”. I felt good feeding her healthy, gourmet food instead of the traditional white bleached flour pancake and fake syrup disaster.
Some interesting variations on the pancakes are adding blue corn meal and then topping the compote with pan toasted crushed hazelnuts and more fresh blueberries. We get our hazelnuts from Freddy Guy’s(www.freddyguys.com) in Portland at the Saturday Market. This is another stocked item at Adytum. We freeze 80 pounds last year and enjoy them all year long. The increase in health benefits from these two additions alone is outstanding.
Mossyrock is the quintessential “best kept secret”. When I lived in Olympia for 25 years, I ventured out to Mossyrock once…I didn’t even know it was there until I did…but that seems to be changing. The Blueberry Festival also had a car and quilt show, along with live music. The next festival we’re looking forward to is the Mayfield Lake Summer Tunes! Late Summer. Jazz. Wine. Sunshine…at Mayfield Lake, Saturday, September 12.(www.summertunes.org) More people are discovering that Mossyrock is a beautiful mountain town at the foot of the Cascades, rich in natural beauty and of course, blueberries.
The DeGoedes Bulb farm(www.degoedebulb.com)is located here too. Judging from the crowded parking lot yesterday, evidently there are as many gardeners as blueberry lovers. Since Pan American Berry Farm is just 20 minutes east on Highway 12 from I-5, it’s a fun day trip, for those that aren’t staying at Adytum (www.adytumsanctuary.com)to come out and get your blueberries and something for the garden too.